Openbsd Doas

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OpenBSD doas (or how I use sudo)

Note: I wrote this post in July 2015 on the System Administrator Appreciation Day. I got a lot of web search hits on this page at the time so I am resurrecting it from my archive in the hope that it might help others

There is a new sudo replacement in town and it’s called doas which I use on OpenBSD 5.8 (snapshot). Ted Unangst(tedu) developed it as a replacement to sudo(without all bells and whistles) to support the use case for a simple, small sudo-like replacement for OpenBSD. Long live sudo, no more sudo :)

By the way happy sysadmin day to all the awesome system administrators who fight fires every day.

Starting OpenBSD 5.8, doas comes pre-installed as part of base set. To use it is super simple; Create a configuration file /etc/doas.conf with the following configuration (depending on your needs):

In newer releases, things have slightly changed. I don’t exactly recall which release added setenv but that seems to be correct way to do this in OpenBSD 6.7. I had it in my backlog to update this post so here is an example for super relaxed permission:

permit nopass keepenv setenv { ENV PS1=$DOAS_PS1 SSH_AUTH_SOCK } :wheel

There’s some more example at

Super relaxed permission

permit nopass keepenv { ENV PS1 SSH_AUTH_SOCK } :wheel

Permit users in the wheel group to execute commands as root user (defaults to root user if not specified). Allow running everything without requiring password and preserve the environment variables ENV, PS1 and SSH_AUTH_SOCK when the elevation occurs.

Do prompt the user for a valid password (nopass is not present)

permit keepenv {ENV PS1 SSH_AUTH_SOCK} :wheel

Allow the user bob to run /bin/sh as fred

permit bob as fred cmd /bin/sh

Disallow users in wheel group to do anything:

deny :wheel


The rules in doas.conf are read top-down. So, if you have a deny :wheel followed by permit nopass :wheel on the next line, then the permit rule will take effective precedence.


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