Edit file as root from nautilus

This is a script for any users of Linux who’d like a convenient way to begin editing a file as the superuser (i.e root) from Nautilus, the GNOME file manager.

  1. Copy and paste the code below into a text editor such as gedit.
  2. Save the text as the file ~/.gnome2/nautilus-scripts/edit_as_root The tilde stands for your home directory. You may need to right click within the save file dialog and check show hidden files before you see .gnome2
  3. Open a terminal and run the command ‘chmod +x ~/.gnome2/nautilus-scripts/edit_as_root’ This tells your system that the text file is executable, i.e. that it is a script not a document
  4. Log out then log back in. Technically, all you must do is restart nautilus.
  5. In a nautilus window, you can now right click a file or set of files and select script -> edit_as_root.
  gksu gnome-text-editor $I &
  • Line 1: The shebang, it says run the program /bin/sh to interpret this script. On Ubuntu this is a soft link to the shell called dash.

  • Lines 2-3: Set the internal field separator to a newline only.

  • Lines 4-5 and 7: Loop through every line in $NAUTILUS_SCRIPT_SELECTED_FILE_PATHS, call the current line $I, and run Line 6.

  • Line 6, gksu: Get authorization via password then run the next command as root. On Ubuntu the gconf key /apps/gksu/sudo-mode makes gksu act like gksudo.

  • Line 6, gnome-text-editor $I: Open file $I with the default text editor. This editor can be changed wih the command ‘update-alternatives update-alternatives –config gnome-text-editor’.

  • Line 6, &: Run the command gnome-text-editor in the background. This means don’t wait for it to finish before runing the next command.

  • Line 8: The script is finished.