I'm trying to use the -S stdin arg on sudo.

I tried this:

echo 'mypass' | sudo -S cat /etc/shadow


echo 'mypass\n' | sudo -S cat /etc/shadow

As the man pages suggest to add a newline.

Both won't work. What is wrong?

  • 1
    By the way, this is a horrible security risk. Your password is now stored in plaintext in ~/.bash_history.
    – terdon
    Dec 8, 2017 at 14:00
  • I'm aware of this. But I see no other method for 'no prompt' sudoing. Dec 8, 2017 at 14:13
  • You can set it up to be passwordless (which is, obviously, not a good way to increase security) or you can write the password into a file only you can read and pass the file's contents to sudo. This is, again, not perfect, but t least it won't be in the history file. Alternatively, you run things as root in an sudo -i session.
    – terdon
    Dec 8, 2017 at 14:39

1 Answer 1


echo command won't print newlines with the \n sequence. Use printf instead.

printf "mypassword\n" | sudo -S cat /etc/shadow
  • I just tested. It didn't work. But then I changed my password to something more simple, and it dit work. Odd. Dec 8, 2017 at 13:56
  • Probably you have shell metachars in your password, consider wrapping your password in single quotes rather than double quotes to prevent parsing of metachars. Dec 8, 2017 at 13:57
  • The OP was already using single quotes. And the echo prints a newline by default, so there's no need for two. @MathiasMaes does your password contain the character '? That would break what you are attempting.
    – terdon
    Dec 8, 2017 at 14:01
  • 1
    @MathiasMaes As you are providing input from two places (the pipe | and shell redirect <<), the input is taken from the second place, not the first. You may correct it by wrapping around brackets: (printf 'testpassword\n' | sudo -S chpasswd) << (echo 'magjefzuzkfnkbexqgxcjnkju:thisisatest') Dec 8, 2017 at 14:14
  • 1
    Am a newbie too, but I think you may add a space between those <'s like this: (commands) < <(echo newpassword) Dec 8, 2017 at 14:33

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