#sudo #polkit #suid #doas #pkexec


Detect if you are running as root, restart self with sudo or any other wrapper if needed or setup uid zero when running with the SUID flag set

3 releases

0.1.2 Jun 23, 2024
0.1.1 Jun 17, 2024
0.1.0 Apr 28, 2024

#315 in Development tools

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Used in aura-pm


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Escalate to your manager and get root access!

This is an extended fork of the sudo and elevate crates, which is a simple library to restart your process with sudo to escalate privileges.

This fork is a refactor of the original version, with the following changes:

  • A builder pattern for the Elevate struct
  • An ability to use pkexec or polkit as an alternative to sudo by setting the wrapper from the builder

The API is a superset of the original sudo crate, so you can use it as a drop-in replacement, but you can also use the new builder pattern to set your own options (currently only wrapper is supported)

The original sudo crate can be found on GitLab (crates.io).

crates.io docs.rs

Detect if you are running as root, restart self with sudo if needed or setup uid zero when running with the SUID flag set.


  • Unix-like operating system
  • The intended wrapper (sudo, pkexec, polkit) must be installed and in the PATH. The default is sudo.
  • Linux or Mac OS X tested
    • It should work on *BSD. You may want to use doas instead of sudo on OpenBSD using the new builder pattern.


First, add karen to your Cargo.toml:

karen = "0.6.1"

In your main.rs:

fn main() -> Result<(), Box<dyn Error>> {
    println!("Hello, Root-World!");
    Ok( () )

If you are using logging based on the log infrastructure you will get timestamped and formatted output.


The crate will automatically keep the setting of RUST_BACKTRACE intact if it is set to one of the following values:

  • `` <- empty string means no pass-through
  • 1 or true <- standard trace
  • full <- full trace
$ RUST_BACKTRACE=full cargo run --example backtrace
2020-07-05 18:10:31,544 TRACE [karen] Running as User
2020-07-05 18:10:31,544 DEBUG [karen] Escalating privileges
2020-07-05 18:10:31,544 TRACE [karen] relaying RUST_BACKTRACE=full
[karen] Passwort für user:
2020-07-05 18:10:39,238 TRACE [karen] Running as Root
2020-07-05 18:10:39,238 TRACE [karen] already running as Root
2020-07-05 18:10:39,238 INFO  [backtrace] entering failing_function
thread 'main' panicked at 'now you see me fail', examples/backtrace.rs:16:5

Keeping part of the environment

You can keep parts of your environment across the sudo barrier. This enables more configuration options often used in daemons or cloud environments:

    // keeping all environment variables starting with "EXAMPLE_" or "CARGO"
    karen::with_env(&["EXAMPLE_", "CARGO"]).expect("sudo failed");

Warning: This may introduce security problems to your application if untrusted users are able to set these variables.

$ EXAMPLE_EXEC='$(ls)' EXAMPLE_BTICKS='`ls`' cargo run --example environment
2020-07-07 16:32:11,261 INFO  [environment] ① uid: 1000; euid: 1000;


declare -x EXAMPLE_BTICKS="\`ls\`"
declare -x EXAMPLE_EXEC="\$(ls)"

[karen] password for user:

2020-07-07 16:32:11,285 TRACE [karen] Running as Root
2020-07-07 16:32:11,285 TRACE [karen] already running as Root
2020-07-07 16:32:11,285 INFO  [environment] ② uid: 0; euid: 0;


declare -x EXAMPLE_BTICKS="\`ls\`"
declare -x EXAMPLE_EXEC="\$(ls)"

Run a program with SUID

$ cargo run --example suid
2020-04-17 15:13:49,450 INFO  [suid] ① uid: 1000; euid: 1000;
uid=1000(user) gid=1000(user) groups=1000(user),4(adm),27(sudo)
2020-04-17 15:13:49,453 TRACE [karen] Running as User
2020-04-17 15:13:49,453 DEBUG [karen] Escalating privileges
[karen] password for user:
2020-04-17 15:13:53,529 INFO  [suid] ① uid: 0; euid: 0;
uid=0(root) gid=0(root) groups=0(root)
2020-04-17 15:13:53,532 TRACE [karen] Running as Root
2020-04-17 15:13:53,532 TRACE [karen] already running as Root
2020-04-17 15:13:53,532 INFO  [suid] ② uid: 0; euid: 0;
uid=0(root) gid=0(root) groups=0(root)

Then give the file to root and add the suid flag.

$ sudo chown root target/debug/examples/suid
$ sudo chmod 4755 target/debug/examples/suid

Now run the program again:

$ target/debug/examples/suid
2020-04-17 15:14:37,199 INFO  [suid] ① uid: 1000; euid: 0;
uid=1000(user) gid=1000(user) euid=0(root) groups=1000(user),4(adm),27(sudo)
2020-04-17 15:14:37,202 TRACE [karen] Running as Suid
2020-04-17 15:14:37,202 TRACE [karen] setuid(0)
2020-04-17 15:14:37,202 INFO  [suid] ② uid: 0; euid: 0;
uid=0(root) gid=1000(user) groups=1000(user),4(adm),27(sudo)