sudoers – list of which users may execute what

on CentOS


The sudoers file is composed of two types of entries: aliases (basically variables) and user specifications (which specify who may run what). The grammar ofsudoers will be described below in Extended Backus-Naur Form (EBNF). Don’t despair if you don’t know what EBNF is; it is fairly simple, and the definitions below are annotated.


Quick guide to EBNF

EBNF is a concise and exact way of describing the grammar of a language. Each EBNF definition is made up of production rules. E.g.,

 symbol ::= definition | alternate1 | alternate2 ...

Each production rule references others and thus makes up a grammar for the language. EBNFalso contains the following operators, which many readers will recognize from regular expressions. Do not, however, confuse them with “wildcard” characters, which have different meanings.

Means that the preceding symbol (or group of symbols) is optional. That is, it may appear once or not at all. 
Means that the preceding symbol (or group of symbols) may appear zero or more times. 
Means that the preceding symbol (or group of symbols) may appear one or more times.

Parentheses may be used to group symbols together. For clarity, we will use single quotes (”) to designate what is a verbatim character string (as opposed to a symbol name).


There are four kinds of aliases: User_Alias
and Cmnd_Alias

 Alias ::= 'User_Alias'  User_Alias (':' User_Alias)* |
           'Runas_Alias' Runas_Alias (':' Runas_Alias)* |
           'Host_Alias'  Host_Alias (':' Host_Alias)* |
           'Cmnd_Alias'  Cmnd_Alias (':' Cmnd_Alias)*
 User_Alias ::= NAME '=' User_List
 Runas_Alias ::= NAME '=' Runas_List
 Host_Alias ::= NAME '=' Host_List
 Cmnd_Alias ::= NAME '=' Cmnd_List
 NAME ::= [A-Z]([A-Z][0-9]_)*

Each alias definition is of the form

 Alias_Type NAME = item1, item2, ...

where Alias_Type is one of User_Alias
, or Cmnd_Alias
is a string of uppercase letters, numbers, and the underscore characters (‘_’). A NAME
must start with an uppercase letter. It is possible to put several alias definitions of the same type on a single line, joined by a colon (‘:’). E.g.,

 Alias_Type NAME = item1, item2, item3 : NAME = item4, item5

The definitions of what constitutes a valid alias member follow.

 User_List ::= User |
               User ',' User_List
 User ::= '!'* username |
          '!'* '%'group |
          '!'* '+'netgroup |
          '!'* User_Alias

is made up of one or more usernames, uids (prefixed with ‘#’), System groups (prefixed with ‘%’), netgroups (prefixed with ‘+’) and other aliases. Each list item may be prefixed with one or more ‘!’ operators. An odd number of ‘!’ operators negate the value of the item; an even number just cancel each other out.

 Runas_List ::= Runas_User |
                Runas_User ',' Runas_List
 Runas_User ::= '!'* username |
                '!'* '#'uid |
                '!'* '%'group |
                '!'* +netgroup |
                '!'* Runas_Alias

is similar to a User_List
except that it can also contain uids (prefixed with ‘#’) and instead of User_Alias
es it can contain Runas_Alias

 Host_List ::= Host |
               Host ',' Host_List
 Host ::= '!'* hostname |
          '!'* ip_addr |
          '!'* network(/netmask)? |
          '!'* '+'netgroup |
          '!'* Host_Alias

is made up of one or more hostnames, IP addresses, network numbers, netgroups (prefixed with ‘+’) and other aliases. Again, the value of an item may be negated with the ‘!’ operator. If you do not specify a netmask with a network number, the netmask of the host’s ethernetinterface(s) will be used when matching. The netmask may be specified either in dotted quad notation (e.g. or CIDR notation (number of bits, e.g. 24). A hostname may include shell-style wildcards (see `Wildcards’ section below), but unless the hostname
command on your machine returns the fully qualified hostname, you’ll need to use the fqdnoption for wildcards to be useful.

 Cmnd_List ::= Cmnd |
               Cmnd ',' Cmnd_List
 commandname ::= filename |
                 filename args |
                 filename '""'
 Cmnd ::= '!'* commandname |
          '!'* directory |
          '!'* Cmnd_Alias

is a list of one or more commandnames, directories, and other aliases. A commandname is a fully qualified filename which may include shell-style wildcards (see `Wildcards’ section below). A simple filename allows the user to run the command with any arguments he/she wishes. However, you may also specify command line arguments (including wildcards). Alternately, you can specify ""
to indicate that the command may only be run without command line arguments. A directory is a fully qualified pathname ending in a ‘/’. When you specify a directory in a Cmnd_List
, the user will be able to run any file within that directory (but not in any subdirectories therein).

If a Cmnd
has associated command line arguments, then the arguments in the Cmnd
must match exactly those given by the user on the command line (or match the wildcards if there are any). Note that the following characters must be escaped with a ‘\’ if they are used in command arguments: ‘,’, ‘:’, ‘=’, ‘\’.


Certain configuration options may be changed from their default values at runtime via one or more Default_Entry
lines. These may affect all users on any host, all users on a specific host, or just a specific user. When multiple entries match, they are applied in order. Where there are conflicting values, the last value on a matching line takes effect.

 Default_Type ::= 'Defaults' ||
                  'Defaults' ':' User ||
                  'Defaults' '@' Host
 Default_Entry ::= Default_Type Parameter_List
 Parameter ::= Parameter '=' Value ||
               Parameter '+=' Value ||
               Parameter '-=' Value ||
               '!'* Parameter ||

Parameters may be flagsinteger values, strings, or lists. Flags are implicitly boolean and can be turned off via the ‘!’ operator. Some integer, string and list parameters may also be used in a boolean context to disable them. Values may be enclosed in double quotes ( "
) when they contain multiple words. Special characters may be escaped with a backslash ( \

Lists have two additional assignment operators, +=
and -=
. These operators are used to add to and delete from a list respectively. It is not an error to use the -=
operator to remove an element that does not exist in a list.

Note that since the sudoers file is parsed in order the best place to put the Defaults section is after the Host, User, and Cmnd aliases but before the user specifications.


When validating with a One Time Password scheme (S/Key or OPIE), a two-line prompt is used to make it easier to cut and paste the challenge to a local window. It’s not as pretty as the default but some people find it more convenient. This flag is off by default. 
If set, sudo will ignore ‘.’ or ” (current dir) in the PATH
environment variable; the PATH
itself is not modified. This flag is on by default. 
Send mail to the mailto user every time a users runs sudo. This flag is off by default. 
Send mail to the mailto user if the user running sudo does not enter the correct password. This flag is off by default. 
If set, mail will be sent to the mailto user if the invoking user is not in the sudoers file. This flag is on by default. 
If set, mail will be sent to the mailto user if the invoking user exists in the sudoers file, but is not allowed to run commands on the current host. This flag is off by default. 
If set, mail will be sent to the mailto user if the invoking user allowed to use sudo but the command they are trying is not listed in their sudoers file entry. This flag is off by default. 
If set, users must authenticate on a per-tty basis. Normally, sudo uses a directory in the ticket dir with the same name as the user running it. With this flag enabled, sudo will use a file named for the tty the user is logged in on in that directory. This flag is on by default. 
If set, a user will receive a short lecture the first time he/she runs sudo. This flag is on by default. 
If set, users must authenticate themselves via a password (or other means of authentication) before they may run commands. This default may be overridden via thePASSWD
tags. This flag is on by default. 
If set, root is allowed to run sudo too. Disabling this prevents users from “chaining”sudo commands to get a root shell by doing something like "sudo sudo /bin/sh"
. This flag is on by default. 
If set, the hostname will be logged in the (non-syslog) sudo log file. This flag is off by default. 
If set, the four-digit year will be logged in the (non-syslog) sudo log file. This flag is off by default. 
If set and sudo is invoked with no arguments it acts as if the -s flag had been given. That is, it runs a shell as root (the shell is determined by the SHELL
environment variable if it is set, falling back on the shell listed in the invoking user’s /etc/passwd entry if not). This flag is off by default. 
If set and sudo is invoked with the -s flag the HOME
environment variable will be set to the home directory of the target user (which is root unless the -u option is used). This effectively makes the -s flag imply -H. This flag is offby default. 
If set, sudo will set the HOME
environment variable to the home directory of the target user (which is root unless the -u option is used). This effectively means that the -H flag is always implied. This flag is offby default. 
Normally, sudo will tell the user when a command could not be found in their PATH
environment variable. Some sites may wish to disable this as it could be used to gather information on the location of executables that the normal user does not have access to. The disadvantage is that if the executable is simply not in the user’s PATH
sudo will tell the user that they are not allowed to run it, which can be confusing. This flag is off by default. 
By default sudo will initialize the group vector to the list of groups the target user is in. When preserve_groups is set, the user’s existing group vector is left unaltered. The real and effective group IDs, however, are still set to match the target user. This flag is off by default. 
Set this flag if you want to put fully qualified hostnames in the sudoers file. I.e.: instead of myhost you would use You may still use the short form if you wish (and even mix the two). Beware that turning on fqdn requires sudo to make DNSlookups which may make sudo unusable if DNS stops working (for example if the machine is not plugged into the network). Also note that you must use the host’s official name as DNS knows it. That is, you may not use a host alias ( CNAME
entry) due to performance issues and the fact that there is no way to get all aliases from DNS. If your machine’s hostname (as returned by the hostname
command) is already fully qualified you shouldn’t need to set fqdn. This flag is off by default. 
If set, sudo will insult users when they enter an incorrect password. This flag is off by default. 
If set, sudo will only run when the user is logged in to a real tty. This will disallow things like "rsh somehost sudo ls"
since rsh(1) does not allocate a tty. Because it is not possible to turn of echo when there is no tty present, some sites may with to set this flag to prevent a user from entering a visible password. This flag is off by default. 
If set, visudo will use the value of the EDITOR or VISUAL environment variables before falling back on the default editor list. Note that this may create a security hole as it allows the user to run any arbitrary command as root without logging. A safer alternative is to place a colon-separated list of editors in the editor
variable. visudo will then only use the EDITOR or VISUAL if they match a value specified in editor
. This flag is on
by default. 
If set, sudo will prompt for the root password instead of the password of the invoking user. This flag is off by default. 
If set, sudo will prompt for the password of the user defined by the runas_default option (defaults to root
) instead of the password of the invoking user. This flag is off by default. 
If set, sudo will prompt for the password of the user specified by the -u flag (defaults toroot
) instead of the password of the invoking user. This flag is off by default. 
Normally, sudo will set the LOGNAME
and USER
environment variables to the name of the target user (usually root unless the -u flag is given). However, since some programs (including the RCS revision control system) useLOGNAME
to determine the real identity of the user, it may be desirable to change this behavior. This can be done by negating the set_logname option. 
Normally, when sudo executes a command the real and effective UIDs are set to the target user (root by default). This option changes that behavior such that the real UID is left as the invoking user’s UID. In other words, this makes sudo act as a setuid wrapper. This can be useful on systems that disable some potentially dangerous functionality when a program is run setuid. Note, however, that this means that sudo will run with the real uid of the invoking user which may allow that user to kill sudo before it can log a failure, depending on how your OS defines the interaction between signals and setuid processes. 
If set, sudo will reset the environment to only contain the following variables: HOME
, and USER
(in addition to the SUDO_*
variables). Of these, only TERM
is copied unaltered from the old environment. The other variables are set to default values (possibly modified by the value of the set_logname option). If sudo was compiled with the SECURE_PATH
option, its value will be used for the PATH
environment variable. Other variables may be preserved with the env_keep option. 
If set, sudo will apply the defaults specified for the target user’s login class if one exists. Only available if sudo is configured with the –with-logincap option. This flag is off by default.


The number of tries a user gets to enter his/her password before sudo logs the failure and exits. The default is 3

Integers that can be used in a boolean context:

Number of characters per line for the file log. This value is used to decide when to wrap lines for nicer log files. This has no effect on the syslog log file, only the file log. The default is 80
(use 0 or negate the option to disable word wrap). 
Number of minutes that can elapse before sudo will ask for a passwd again. The default is 5
. Set this to 0
to always prompt for a password. If set to a value less than 0
the user’s timestamp will never expire. This can be used to allow users to create or delete their own timestamps via sudo -v
and sudo -k
Number of minutes before the sudo password prompt times out. The default is 5
, set this to 0
for no password timeout. 
Umask to use when running the command. Negate this option or set it to 0777 to preserve the user’s umask. The default is 0022


Subject of the mail sent to the mailto user. The escape %h
will expand to the hostname of the machine. Default is *** SECURITY information for %h ***
Message that is displayed if a user enters an incorrect password. The default is Sorry, try again.
unless insults are enabled. 
The directory in which sudo stores its timestamp files. The default is /var/run/sudo
The default prompt to use when asking for a password; can be overridden via the -poption or the SUDO_PROMPT
environment variable. Supports two escapes: “%u” expands to the user’s login name and “%h” expands to the local hostname. The default value is Password:
The default user to run commands as if the -u flag is not specified on the command line. This defaults to root
Syslog priority to use when user authenticates successfully. Defaults to notice
Syslog priority to use when user authenticates unsuccessfully. Defaults to alert
A colon (‘:’) separated list of editors allowed to be used with visudovisudo will choose the editor that matches the user’s USER environment variable if possible, or the first editor in the list that exists and is executable. The default is the path to vi on your system.

Strings that can be used in a boolean context:

Path to the sudo log file (not the syslog log file). Setting a path turns on logging to a file; negating this option turns it off. 
Syslog facility if syslog is being used for logging (negate to disable syslog logging). Defaults to authpriv
Path to mail program used to send warning mail. Defaults to the path to sendmail found at configure time. 
Flags to use when invoking mailer. Defaults to -t
Address to send warning and error mail to. The address should be enclosed in double quotes ( "
) to protect against sudo interpreting the @
sign. Defaults to root
Users in this group are exempt from password and PATH requirements. This is not set by default. 
This option controls when a password will be required when a user runs sudo with the -v flag. It has the following possible values:

All the user’s sudoers entries for the current host must have the NOPASSWD
flag set to avoid entering a password. 
At least one of the user’s sudoers entries for the current host must have theNOPASSWD
flag set to avoid entering a password. 
The user need never enter a password to use the -v flag. 
The user must always enter a password to use the -v flag.
The default value is `all’.

This option controls when a password will be required when a user runs sudo with the -l. It has the following possible values:

All the user’s sudoers entries for the current host must have the NOPASSWD
flag set to avoid entering a password. 
At least one of the user’s sudoers entries for the current host must have theNOPASSWD
flag set to avoid entering a password. 
The user need never enter a password to use the -l flag. 
The user must always enter a password to use the -l flag.
The default value is `any’.

Lists that can be used in a boolean context:

Environment variables to be removed from the user’s environment if the variable’s value contains %
or /
characters. This can be used to guard against printf-style format vulnerabilties in poorly-written programs. The argument may be a double-quoted, space-separated list or a single value without double-quotes. The list can be replaced, added to, deleted from, or disabled by using the =
, and !
operators respectively. The default list of environment variable to check is printed whensudo is run by root with the -V option. 
Environment variables to be removed from the user’s environment. The argument may be a double-quoted, space-separated list or a single value without double-quotes. The list can be replaced, added to, deleted from, or disabled by using the =
, and !
operators respectively. The default list of environment variable to remove is printed when sudo is run by root with the -V option. 
Environment variables to be preserved in the user’s environment when the env_resetoption is in effect. This allows fine-grained control over the environment sudo-spawned processes will receive. The argument may be a double-quoted, space-separated list or a single value without double-quotes. The list can be replaced, added to, deleted from, or disabled by using the =
, and !
operators respectively. This list has no default members.

When logging via syslog(3), sudo accepts the following values for the syslog facility (the value of the syslog Parameter): authpriv (if your OS supports it), authdaemonuserlocal0,local1local2local3local4local5local6, and local7. The following syslog priorities are supported: alertcritdebugemergerrinfonotice, and warning.

User Specification

 User_Spec ::= User_list Host_List '=' Cmnd_Spec_List \
               (':' User_Spec)*
 Cmnd_Spec_List ::= Cmnd_Spec |
                    Cmnd_Spec ',' Cmnd_Spec_List
 Cmnd_Spec ::= Runas_Spec? ('NOPASSWD:' | 'PASSWD:')? Cmnd
 Runas_Spec ::= '(' Runas_List ')'

user specification determines which commands a user may run (and as what user) on specified hosts. By default, commands are run as root, but this can be changed on a per-command basis.

Let’s break that down into its constituent parts:


is simply a Runas_List
(as defined above) enclosed in a set of parentheses. If you do not specify a Runas_Spec
in the user specification, a default Runas_Spec
of root will be used. A Runas_Spec
sets the default for commands that follow it. What this means is that for the entry:

 dgb    boulder = (operator) /bin/ls, /bin/kill, /usr/bin/who

The user dgb may run /bin/ls/bin/kill, and /usr/bin/lprm — but only as operator. E.g.,

    sudo -u operator /bin/ls.

It is also possible to override a Runas_Spec
later on in an entry. If we modify the entry like so:

 dgb    boulder = (operator) /bin/ls, (root) /bin/kill, /usr/bin/lprm

Then user dgb is now allowed to run /bin/ls as operator, but /bin/kill and /usr/bin/lprm as root.


By default, sudo requires that a user authenticate him or herself before running a command. This behavior can be modified via the NOPASSWD
tag. Like a Runas_Spec
tag sets a default for the commands that follow it in the Cmnd_Spec_List
. Conversely, the PASSWD
tag can be used to reverse things. For example:

 ray    rushmore = NOPASSWD: /bin/kill, /bin/ls, /usr/bin/lprm

would allow the user ray to run /bin/kill/bin/ls, and /usr/bin/lprm as root on the machine rushmore as root without authenticating himself. If we only want ray to be able to run /bin/killwithout a password the entry would be:

 ray    rushmore = NOPASSWD: /bin/kill, PASSWD: /bin/ls, /usr/bin/lprm

Note, however, that the PASSWD
tag has no effect on users who are in the group specified by the exempt_group option.

By default, if the NOPASSWD
tag is applied to any of the entries for a user on the current host, he or she will be able to runsudo -l
without a password. Additionally, a user may only run sudo -v
without a password if the NOPASSWD
tag is present for all a user’s entries that pertain to the current host. This behavior may be overridden via the verifypw and listpw options.

Wildcards (aka meta characters):

sudo allows shell-style wildcards to be used in pathnames as well as command line arguments in the sudoers file. Wildcard matching is done via the POSIX fnmatch(3)
routine. Note that these are not regular expressions.

Matches any set of zero or more characters. 
Matches any single character. 
Matches any character in the specified range. 
Matches any character not in the specified range. 
For any character “x”, evaluates to “x”. This is used to escape special characters such as: “*”, “?”, “[”, and “}”.

Note that a forward slash (‘/’) will not be matched by wildcards used in the pathname. When matching the command line arguments, however, as slash does get matched by wildcards. This is to make a path like:


match /usr/bin/who
but not /usr/bin/X11/xterm


The following exceptions apply to the above rules:

If the empty string ""
is the only command line argument in the sudoers entry it means that command is not allowed to be run with any arguments.


The pound sign (‘#’) is used to indicate a comment (unless it occurs in the context of a user name and is followed by one or more digits, in which case it is treated as a uid). Both the comment character and any text after it, up to the end of the line, are ignored.

The reserved word ALL is a built in alias that always causes a match to succeed. It can be used wherever one might otherwise use a Cmnd_Alias
, or Host_Alias
. You should not try to define your own alias called ALL as the built in alias will be used in preference to your own. Please note that using ALL can be dangerous since in a command context, it allows the user to run any command on the system.

An exclamation point (‘!’) can be used as a logical not operator both in an alias and in front of a Cmnd
. This allows one to exclude certain values. Note, however, that using a !
in conjunction with the built in ALL
alias to allow a user to run “all but a few” commands rarely works as intended (seeSECURITY NOTES below).

Long lines can be continued with a backslash (‘\’) as the last character on the line.

Whitespace between elements in a list as well as special syntactic characters in a User Specification (‘=’, ‘:’, ‘(‘, ‘)’) is optional.

The following characters must be escaped with a backslash (‘\’) when used as part of a word (e.g. a username or hostname): ‘@’, ‘!’, ‘=’, ‘:’, ‘,’, ‘(‘, ‘)’, ‘\’.

Below are example sudoers entries. Admittedly, some of these are a bit contrived. First, we define our aliases:

 # User alias specification
 User_Alias     FULLTIMERS = millert, mikef, dowdy
 User_Alias     PARTTIMERS = bostley, jwfox, crawl
 User_Alias     WEBMASTERS = will, wendy, wim
 # Runas alias specification
 Runas_Alias    OP = root, operator
 Runas_Alias    DB = oracle, sybase
 # Host alias specification
 Host_Alias     SPARC = bigtime, eclipse, moet, anchor :\
                SGI = grolsch, dandelion, black :\
                ALPHA = widget, thalamus, foobar :\
                HPPA = boa, nag, python
 Host_Alias     CUNETS =
 Host_Alias     CSNETS =,,
 Host_Alias     SERVERS = master, mail, www, ns
 Host_Alias     CDROM = orion, perseus, hercules
 # Cmnd alias specification
 Cmnd_Alias     DUMPS = /usr/bin/mt, /usr/sbin/dump, /usr/sbin/rdump,\
                        /usr/sbin/restore, /usr/sbin/rrestore
 Cmnd_Alias     KILL = /usr/bin/kill
 Cmnd_Alias     PRINTING = /usr/sbin/lpc, /usr/bin/lprm
 Cmnd_Alias     SHUTDOWN = /usr/sbin/shutdown
 Cmnd_Alias     HALT = /usr/sbin/halt, /usr/sbin/fasthalt
 Cmnd_Alias     REBOOT = /usr/sbin/reboot, /usr/sbin/fastboot
 Cmnd_Alias     SHELLS = /usr/bin/sh, /usr/bin/csh, /usr/bin/ksh, \
                         /usr/local/bin/tcsh, /usr/bin/rsh, \
 Cmnd_Alias     SU = /usr/bin/su

Here we override some of the compiled in default values. We want sudo to log via syslog(3) using the auth facility in all cases. We don’t want to subject the full time staff to the sudolecture, and user millert need not give a password. In addition, on the machines in theSERVERS Host_Alias
, we keep an additional local log file and make sure we log the year in each log line since the log entries will be kept around for several years.

 # Override built in defaults
 Defaults               syslog=auth
 Defaults:FULLTIMERS    !lecture
 Defaults:millert       !authenticate
 Defaults@SERVERS       log_year, logfile=/var/log/sudo.log

The User specification is the part that actually determines who may run what.

 root           ALL = (ALL) ALL
 %wheel         ALL = (ALL) ALL

We let root and any user in group wheel run any command on any host as any user.


Full time sysadmins (millertmikef, and dowdy) may run any command on any host without authenticating themselves.


Part time sysadmins (bostleyjwfox, and crawl) may run any command on any host but they must authenticate themselves first (since the entry lacks the NOPASSWD

 jack           CSNETS = ALL

The user jack may run any command on the machines in the CSNETS alias (the networks128.138.243.0
, and
). Of those networks, only
has an explicit netmask (in CIDR notation) indicating it is a class C network. For the other networks in CSNETS, the local machine’s netmask will be used during matching.

 lisa           CUNETS = ALL

The user lisa may run any command on any host in the CUNETS alias (the class B network128.138.0.0


The operator user may run commands limited to simple maintenance. Here, those are commands related to backups, killing processes, the printing system, shutting down the system, and any commands in the directory /usr/oper/bin/.

 joe            ALL = /usr/bin/su operator

The user joe may only su(1) to operator.

 pete           HPPA = /usr/bin/passwd [A-z]*, !/usr/bin/passwd root

The user pete is allowed to change anyone’s password except for root on the HPPA machines. Note that this assumes passwd(1) does not take multiple usernames on the command line.

 bob            SPARC = (OP) ALL : SGI = (OP) ALL

The user bob may run anything on the SPARC and SGI machines as any user listed in the OPRunas_Alias
(root and operator).

 jim            +biglab = ALL

The user jim may run any command on machines in the biglab netgroup. Sudo knows that “biglab” is a netgroup due to the ‘+’ prefix.

 +secretaries   ALL = PRINTING, /usr/bin/adduser, /usr/bin/rmuser

Users in the secretaries netgroup need to help manage the printers as well as add and remove users, so they are allowed to run those commands on all machines.

 fred           ALL = (DB) NOPASSWD: ALL

The user fred can run commands as any user in the DB Runas_Alias
(oracle or sybase) without giving a password.

 john           ALPHA = /usr/bin/su [!-]*, !/usr/bin/su *root*

On the ALPHA machines, user john may su to anyone except root but he is not allowed to givesu(1) any flags.

 jen            ALL, !SERVERS = ALL

The user jen may run any command on any machine except for those in the SERVERSHost_Alias
(master, mail, www and ns).

 jill           SERVERS = /usr/bin/, !SU, !SHELLS

For any machine in the SERVERS Host_Alias
jill may run any commands in the directory /usr/bin/ except for those commands belonging to the SU and SHELLS Cmnd_Aliases

 steve          CSNETS = (operator) /usr/local/op_commands/

The user steve may run any command in the directory /usr/local/op_commands/ but only as user operator.

 matt           valkyrie = KILL

On his personal workstation, valkyrie, matt needs to be able to kill hung processes.

 WEBMASTERS     www = (www) ALL, (root) /usr/bin/su www

On the host www, any user in the WEBMASTERS User_Alias
(will, wendy, and wim), may run any command as user www (which owns the web pages) or simply su(1) to www.

 ALL            CDROM = NOPASSWD: /sbin/umount /CDROM,\
                /sbin/mount -o nosuid\,nodev /dev/cd0a /CDROM

Any user may mount or unmount a CD-ROM on the machines in the CDROM Host_Alias
(orion, perseus, hercules) without entering a password. This is a bit tedious for users to type, so it is a prime candidate for encapsulating in a shell script.

It is generally not effective to “subtract” commands from ALL
using the ‘!’ operator. A user can trivially circumvent this by copying the desired command to a different name and then executing that. For example:

    bill        ALL = ALL, !SU, !SHELLS

Doesn’t really prevent bill from running the commands listed in SU or SHELLS since he can simply copy those commands to a different name, or use a shell escape from an editor or other program. Therefore, these kind of restrictions should be considered advisory at best (and reinforced by policy).