Login as user myuser.
To become root and run Android SDK manager:

su -  

all is well.

Then to become user jenkins and run Android SDK manager:

su - jenkins  

fails with

SDL init failure, reason is: No available video device

Logout. Login as user jenkins.

As user jenkins:


all is well.

So, when I su - jenkins it does not work, but when logging in as jenkins into gnome it works.

How can I start the Android SDK manager with non-root shell?

1 Answer 1


Sounds like a permission problem.

Check the permissions on the file. Make sure that you are either an owner or part of a group with write permissions for the SDK path. The binary will need permission to read and write to the sdk path also.

adb is the only service I've had to run as root. The purpose for that is to be able to find and manage the devices that have been plugged in. There is even a way around that as well by setting up a rule with udev.

  • 1
    You're right, it is a permission problem. Running "xhost +" before doing "su - jenkins" solves it on the commandline.
    – user19496
    Aug 11, 2011 at 15:19

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