Configuring Ubuntu style sudo privilege authorization on Debian Linux

The following lines will describe a procedure on how to mimic Ubuntu’s sudo privilege authorization system on Debian Linux. Sudo allows users to run programs with the authorization privileges of another user by supplying their own password for authentication.

If you have not done so yet, first install sudo package:

# apt-get install sudo

Once sudo is installed run:

# visudo

which allows you to edit the content of /etc/sudoers file. Change the content of this file as show below:

Defaults        env_reset
Defaults        mail_badpass
Defaults        secure_path="/usr/local/sbin:/usr/local/bin:/usr/sbin:/usr/bin:/sbin:/bin"

root    ALL=(ALL:ALL) ALL
%admin ALL=(ALL) ALL
%sudo   ALL=(ALL:ALL) ALL

Alternatively, you should only add line:

%admin ALL=(ALL) ALL

which allows members of the admin group to gain root privileges. Next, create admin group:

# addgroup admin

At this stage all what remains is to add all users you wish to use sudo command to admin and sudo group. For example the below command will add a user linuxconfig to both groups:

# usermod -a -G sudo -G admin linuxconfig

To see which users currently belong to admin and sudo group run:

# getent group sudo admin

To start using sudo you must re-login that is log out and log in again with your sudo user otherwise you will see the following error message:

$ sudo -i
[sudo] password for linuxconfig: 
linuxconfig is not in the sudoers file.  This incident will be reported.