gksu manual page says that it is a front-end to su, however su doesn't need a command to be executed, while gksu does. Also, gksu doesn't seem to change the user ID of my shell, while su does. Is it possible to make gksu work exactly like su, just asking the user password and changing the shell uid?

Also, is there any difference between gksu and gksudo?

2 Answers 2


gksu would normally log in the root user and run an app on this session

IN some systems like ubuntu, gksu and gksudo are symlinked which basically means no matter which command used you are simply using gksudo because /apps/gksu/sudo-mode is enabled

Normally gksu would log in the root user and run an app on this session. Where as gksudo/sudo keeps the user logged in and elevates the root-level privileges to that user

You should never use normal sudo to start graphical applications. You should use gksudo instead. gksudo sets HOME=~root, and copies .Xauthority to a tmp directory. This prevents files in your home directory becoming owned by root. (AFAICT, this is all that's special about the environment of the started process with gksudo vs. sudo).


Gksu is a tool to allow a user to run a GUI program as root. It does for X programs what sudo does for commands. As far as I can tell gksu and gksudo are the same.

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