Take the 2-minute tour ×
Ask Ubuntu is a question and answer site for Ubuntu users and developers. It's 100% free.

I am setting up wireshark to run as non root user, a la here, that is:

sudo apt-get install wireshark
sudo dpkg-reconfigure wireshark-common 
sudo usermod -a -G wireshark $USER

This is all great. But when I try to start wireshark as the wireshark user, using:

sudo -s -u $USER wireshark

I get the following error:

no protocol specified

gtk-warning ** cannot open display

The "no protocol specified" part seems pretty straight forward. And the gtk-warning cannot open display seems to relate exactly to this issue.

"You have two ways to get this working: grant it or have root take it. You (greg) can grant it by means of 'xhost local:root'. Or root can take it, because it can access your files: 'export AUTHORITY=/home/greg/.Xauthority'."

This doesn't make sense to me. What was the point in granting access to the other user if they can't open the program anyway? This separating is done for security reasons, so isn't making that above modification reverting the earlier comment

"This has to do with access control to your X server. You don't want just anybody opening windows on your screen, do you. So if you started the X server under your own account (greg) then any other user (like root) doesn't have access to it."

TLDR; Is this standard practice and the way this should be done, to achieve separation between root and other user account? It seems like a "hack" to me.

share|improve this question
possible duplicate of How do I run wireshark, with root-privileges? –  Eric Carvalho Apr 8 at 12:40

1 Answer 1

$USER is here to see as a shell variable. The third command above adds your user to the wireshark group and should be replaced by sudo adduser <yourUser> wireshark.
Now you should be able to invoke wireshark as yourself (no need to sudo anymore).

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.