Provided by: sudo_1.8.3p1-1ubuntu3_amd64 bug


       visudo - edit the sudoers file


       visudo [-chqsV] [-f sudoers]


       visudo edits the sudoers file in a safe fashion, analogous to vipw(8).  visudo locks the
       sudoers file against multiple simultaneous edits, provides basic sanity checks, and checks
       for parse errors.  If the sudoers file is currently being edited you will receive a
       message to try again later.

       There is a hard-coded list of one or more editors that visudo will use set at compile-time
       that may be overridden via the editor sudoers Default variable.  This list defaults to
       "/usr/local/bin/vi".  Normally, visudo does not honor the VISUAL or EDITOR environment
       variables unless they contain an editor in the aforementioned editors list.  However, if
       visudo is configured with the --with-env-editor option or the env_editor Default variable
       is set in sudoers, visudo will use any the editor defines by VISUAL or EDITOR.  Note that
       this can be a security hole since it allows the user to execute any program they wish
       simply by setting VISUAL or EDITOR.

       visudo parses the sudoers file after the edit and will not save the changes if there is a
       syntax error.  Upon finding an error, visudo will print a message stating the line
       number(s) where the error occurred and the user will receive the "What now?" prompt.  At
       this point the user may enter "e" to re-edit the sudoers file, "x" to exit without saving
       the changes, or "Q" to quit and save changes.  The "Q" option should be used with extreme
       care because if visudo believes there to be a parse error, so will sudo and no one will be
       able to sudo again until the error is fixed.  If "e" is typed to edit the  sudoers file
       after a parse error has been detected, the cursor will be placed on the line where the
       error occurred (if the editor supports this feature).


       visudo accepts the following command line options:

       -c          Enable check-only mode.  The existing sudoers file will be checked for syntax
                   and a message will be printed to the standard output detailing the status of
                   sudoers.  If the syntax check completes successfully, visudo will exit with a
                   value of 0.  If a syntax error is encountered, visudo will exit with a value
                   of 1.

       -f sudoers  Specify and alternate sudoers file location.  With this option visudo will
                   edit (or check) the sudoers file of your choice, instead of the default,
                   /etc/sudoers.  The lock file used is the specified sudoers file with ".tmp"
                   appended to it.  In check-only mode only, the argument to -f may be "-",
                   indicating that sudoers will be read from the standard input.

       -h          The -h (help) option causes visudo to print a short help message to the
                   standard output and exit.

       -q          Enable quiet mode.  In this mode details about syntax errors are not printed.
                   This option is only useful when combined with the -c option.

       -s          Enable strict checking of the sudoers file.  If an alias is used before it is
                   defined, visudo will consider this a parse error.  Note that it is not
                   possible to differentiate between an alias and a host name or user name that
                   consists solely of uppercase letters, digits, and the underscore ('_')

       -V          The -V (version) option causes visudo to print its version number and exit.


       The following environment variables may be consulted depending on the value of the editor
       and env_editor sudoers variables:

       VISUAL          Invoked by visudo as the editor to use

       EDITOR          Used by visudo if VISUAL is not set


       /etc/sudoers            List of who can run what

       /etc/sudoers.tmp        Lock file for visudo


       sudoers file busy, try again later.
           Someone else is currently editing the sudoers file.

       /etc/sudoers.tmp: Permission denied
           You didn't run visudo as root.

       Can't find you in the passwd database
           Your userid does not appear in the system passwd file.

       Warning: {User,Runas,Host,Cmnd}_Alias referenced but not defined
           Either you are trying to use an undeclare {User,Runas,Host,Cmnd}_Alias or you have a
           user or host name listed that consists solely of uppercase letters, digits, and the
           underscore ('_') character.  In the latter case, you can ignore the warnings (sudo
           will not complain).  In -s (strict) mode these are errors, not warnings.

       Warning: unused {User,Runas,Host,Cmnd}_Alias
           The specified {User,Runas,Host,Cmnd}_Alias was defined but never used.  You may wish
           to comment out or remove the unused alias.  In -s (strict) mode this is an error, not
           a warning.

       Warning: cycle in {User,Runas,Host,Cmnd}_Alias
           The specified {User,Runas,Host,Cmnd}_Alias includes a reference to itself, either
           directly or through an alias it includes.  This is only a warning by default as sudo
           will ignore cycles when parsing the sudoers file.


       vi(1), sudoers(5), sudo(8), vipw(8)


       Many people have worked on sudo over the years; this version of visudo was written by:

        Todd Miller

       See the HISTORY file in the sudo distribution or visit for more details.


       There is no easy way to prevent a user from gaining a root shell if the editor used by
       visudo allows shell escapes.


       If you feel you have found a bug in visudo, please submit a bug report at


       Limited free support is available via the sudo-users mailing list, see to subscribe or search the archives.


       visudo is provided ``AS IS'' and any express or implied warranties, including, but not
       limited to, the implied warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose
       are disclaimed.  See the LICENSE file distributed with sudo or for complete details.