I'd like to have an hg hook that sends email using a gmail account. Obviously I don't want anyone to be able read the email-sending script except me or root, since it has a password in, so here's what I've tried:

-rwsr-xr-x  1 james james   58 Feb 18 12:05 incoming.email.sh
-rwx--x--x  1 james james  262 Feb 18 12:04 send-incoming-email.sh

where incoming.email.sh is the file executed as the hook:

#! /bin/bash

However, when I try to run as another user I get the error:

/bin/bash: /path/to/send-incoming-email.sh: Permission denied

The send-incoming-email.sh file works fine when I run as myself.

Is what I'm trying to do possible, or will setuid not propagate to commands executed from a shell script?

System is Ubuntu 10.04.2 LTS.


If you need your solution to work as is, a simple hack would be to use a short C program instead of a shell script:

int main(){

And have that setuid, thus avoiding the race condition, and at the same time allowing you to pass off execution of the script as root.

This isn't the best solution, by far, but it will solve the problem as described.

  • setuid(geteuid()) is needed, it seems. – grawity Feb 18 '11 at 14:31
  • Quite correct, good catch! Edited to reflect that. – Jeremy Sturdivant Feb 18 '11 at 14:39
  • I still get permission denied when I run as another user: /bin/bash: /path/to/send-incoming-email.sh: Permission denied (permissions: -rwsr-xr-x 1 james james 7227 Feb 18 16:45 incoming.email) – James Feb 18 '11 at 16:48
  • To clarify, you're running incoming.email from another user, and that message results? Try running "id" instead of the incoming email script to test the setuid operation, and make sure the incoming email script works from your user directly still. – Jeremy Sturdivant Feb 21 '11 at 17:52

Linux will ignore the setuid bit for shell scripts to avoid possible race-conditions.

The "proper" way of sending email on Unix/Linux systems is to configure a MTA such as Postfix, Exim4 or Sendmail and let it handle the SMTP authentication mess. There also are "relay-only" MTAs - esmtp, msmtp, ssmtp. All of these can do SMTP relaying ("smarthost") with authentication, for example, through Gmail servers. It becomes trickier on a multi-user machine, but still doable.

(When a MTA is configured, sending an email is done by passing the data to /usr/sbin/sendmail rcpt@address.)

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