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Emacs loads my .emacs.d/init.el startup file just fine when run as a regular user, but refuses to load it when run as sudo emacs file.type. I have tried changing the owner of .emacs.d to root with no success.

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3 Answers 3

When you run as sudo add -s to preserve your environment. It's not maintaining your environment, thus your HOME directory is lost. Emacs looks in ~/.emacs, ~/.emacs.el, or ~/.emacs.d/init.el, so if you lose HOME, you lose the pathing to your startup files.

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I'm a little of topic, but you could use Emacs as a normal user, and tramp to open file as root:

C-xC-f /sudo::/path/to/file

will ask you for your sudo password, and open the file as root.

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jmq is right. In alternative tricky solution. If you are the only one allowed to be sudoer or to login as root, you can add a symlink in /root/ to your .emacs.d directory. For example:

ls -l /root/.emacs
lrwxrwxrwx. 1 root root 18 May  5 11:14 /root/.emacs -> /home/<user>/.emacs
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