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I have always recommended pressing ALT+F2 and typing for example gksu nautilus or gksudo nautilus both are equivalent; to run graphical programs with root privileges. However, I have just installed raring on a test system and this no longer works.

gksu and gksudo are not installed as part of a default raring install; though they are in the repositories. In 12.04 at least gksudo was just a symbolic link to gksu

The reasons I have always done this are because while it is often safe to use sudo under some circumstances it can cause problems with graphical applications because gksu has you running the program as root while with sudo you are running as yourself but with elevated privileges.

This can mean you inadvertently change the owner of critical system files. This can cause problems.

This reasoning is explained better here:

Why was command removed from a fresh install and what should we be using instead?

share|improve this question
See gksudo missing in Ubuntu forum. – user68186 Apr 22 '13 at 19:58
As a clarification, gksudo and gksu are not identical, even though one is a symbolic link to another (the program detects how it was initiated). There is a subtle difference that, in rare cases, can lead to the loss of selected system files. Therefore, until you start to use pkexec, please always use gksudo instead of gksu. – Paddy Landau Apr 30 '13 at 10:07
@PaddyLandau I like many others here always 'gksu` and gksudo were the same see What is the difference between gksudo and gksu?. Can you add an answer to that question that explains the difference please; or give us a link to a website that explains it so one of us can. – Warren Hill Apr 30 '13 at 10:17
@WarrenHill - I have posted an answer on that thread for you. – Paddy Landau Apr 30 '13 at 13:42
Worth noticing that none of the answers so far explain why gksu is no longer installed by default, which is the actual question. – MestreLion May 21 '13 at 0:12
up vote 48 down vote accepted

After a long discussion on #ubuntu-devel I now understand the thinking.

gksu can be installed on 13.04 with sudo apt-get install gksu and it will work.

If you decided to install gksu and are using the 64-bit version you'll need to run gksu-properties once to set the authentication to sudo. There is no need to do this on 32-bit as it's set to sudo by default.

However gksu is not recommended any more and it may be removed entirely from future issues of Ubuntu. In general the development team would prefer us not to use GUI applications as root but to use sudo and the command line instead.

In the long term pkexec is preferred however it's not very easy to use at the moment.

pkexec allows an authorized user to execute PROGRAM as another user. If username is not specified, then the program will be executed as the administrative super user, root.

see the man page man pkexec for more information.

In the mean time you can open a terminal CTRL+ALT+T or search for terminal in dash.

Do not close the terminal until you have finished this is important as the GUI program is a child of the terminal and if you close it the GUI program will also close.

Enter sudo -i

You are now logged on as root so can make the changes you want for example

gedit path_to_file 

to edit a configuration file, or


to run the file manager

When you are finished close the GUI application then in the terminal


You can now close the terminal.

share|improve this answer
Telling users to use the command line instead of running graphical applications as root isn't going to go over well with Windows converts... – Seth Apr 29 '13 at 20:19
By the way, you can void the "closing the terminal kills all spawned programs" issue by launching the program with the & suffix so that it runs as a background process and then issuing disown %1 in bash -- or whatever job number the program is. Then you can safely close the terminal. So, it could be something like: sudo my-program &;disown %1;exit; – Chuck R May 18 '13 at 22:45
However gksu is not recommended any more and it may be removed entirely.... Care to elaborate on why? – MestreLion May 21 '13 at 0:14
As I understand it the problem with sudo, gksu and gksudo is that they elevate a privileges of a process to those of root. Policy kit allows finer control so you can give a process just the privileges it needs and no more. However this requires each program that needs extra privileges to have a profile defining what extra privileges it needs and these are not all in place yet. – Warren Hill May 21 '13 at 6:06
More on windows, using it is just... Slow. Everything about it is slow. The way you do things, the poor excuse for a terminal, installing software, booting and shutting down, removing software, typing commands, attempting to shell script, a task that I can get done within 5 seconds on Linux can take me up to 10 minutes on windows. Inefficient is an understatement. The fact that I feel like I have more control in os x, or in my Android phone, really says something about the design choices of windows. – Braden Best Jun 17 '15 at 17:06

I just installed 13.04 : GKSU is already installed...

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i have just checked .....its installed ....... – Qasim May 1 '13 at 23:40
I was going to make a command about this answer but took a second to check if gksu was there. It is. I even installed a fresh 13.04 64 bit and it was also there. – Luis Alvarado May 2 '13 at 1:14
I've just checked again on my system. Still not there see these threads on Ubuntu Forums here and here. Perhaps it has been added to a recent update, or is it possible you have bought it in by installing something else? – Warren Hill May 2 '13 at 5:49

According to its changelog, it was dropped as it wasn't ported to Gnome 3 and that was blocking the transition to Nautilus 3.

share|improve this answer
See pkexec as an alternate to gksudo. – user68186 Apr 22 '13 at 21:35
That's nautilus-gksu, not gksu. – psusi Apr 29 '13 at 13:57
-1 as per psusi. This is wrong information. – ignis Jul 5 '13 at 16:10

protected by Community Oct 7 '14 at 0:12

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