Embracing the Power of Sudo: Windows 11 Comes Full Circle

As if by the ghostly narration of the command line, I hear a story of the past – it speaks of a command so commanding and so holy that system administration as we know it would not exist as it does today if not for it. I am speaking, of course, of sudo. Finally, sudo comes to Windows 11.

The Rise of sudo in OPEN Windows 11

On the surface, sudo is a recognition that Microsoft’s desktop operating system, once a proprietary monolith, has evolved into something that respects Linux and Unix tools and culture. When you enable sudo in Windows 11, you are now able to run commands at an elevated privilege level from an unelevated console session – a capability that has changed how many hundreds of millions of systems perform critical tasks for their users.

Why sudo Reigns Supreme

Nor is it merely a dictate of tradition. ‘sudo’ makes operational sense because it lets you get the job done without any switching between user sessions to see what you’ve done, or otherwise giving away all the secrets of your sensitive administrative accounts. ‘sudo’ thus enables faster, more secure computing. For system administrators and power users in general, ‘sudo’ has become a trope for how to do everything just a little more swiftly, and with just a little more safety.

Opening Doors With sudo in OPEN Windows

Instead, what sudo offers is familiarity. Once a user has learned to be familiar with sudo, it becomes quick and easy to impersonate other accounts, to escalate privileges with other tools built into Windows, and to leverage the Windows UAC mechanisms. It’s easy to see sudo making mincemeat of the far more complicated runas commands.

Unleashing sudo in OPEN Windows 11

There are users who can – and must – use a tool such as sudo; it just requires that footswitch to be thrown. To activate it, you go to the Settings app, click on the General page, and on For Developers you toggle the on switch next to Enable sudo. Now, you too can right-click on anything you find lacking. It can be powerful, or dangerous – or both.

Crafting the Perfect sudo Experience

And sudo’s activation is only the tips of the iceberg. Windows 11’s behaviour can be configured in many ways, so it does exactly what is wanted (run commands in a new window at the start, or emulate the sudo of other OSes).

Mastering the Art of sudo

To use sudo all you do is prefix your command with ‘sudo’: simply run sudo netstat -ab, for example, and you can discover what is listening on the system’s network ports and addresses in all their unfettered glory. With this, the whole system of administration was laid at the doorstep of ordinary users, where it still sits today.

Explore Alternatives and Enhancements

sudo is the superstar, but it isn’t the only one – the runas command, and its cousin the Start-Process cmdlet in PowerShell, remain with us still, and they offer a vast array of approaches for doing more or less the same thing. And gsudo, and the ecosystem that surrounds elevated command execution tools, promises more.

The Future Is OPEN

And in a surprising development, Microsoft is planning to open-source the (on Windows) sudo project!

Open Insights Now and Tomorrow

It is a reflection of the wider philosophical change at Microsoft – a move towards openness that is emulated by this sudo, and the open-source culture that comes in its wake, and a reflection of a roaring, open community. From the GitHub repository, the channel for feedback and innovation is open, with users and developers melding to create both innovation and improvement, unforeseen in the deep history of software development.

Conclusion: A World Opened by sudo

The introduction of sudo to the Windows 11 world is a transformational moment for an operating system. It’s a big leap forward towards freedom, security and efficiency. It’s enough to whet the appetite and to get the aspirational juices flowing about a future where the command line is the mighty advocate it has long since been waiting to become. The better world of the command line is on its way.

About sudo and Open-Source Philosophy

In essence, sudo is not just a command, but a mindset, a philosophy of openness and community that has been at the core of its success. By taking up sudo and opening the door to the open-sourcing of its development, Windows 11 also opens the door to users and developers worldwide, cultivating a community in which we are all creators of, and contributors to, something bigger than ourselves. And for all of this? I can’t wait for the next chapter of sudo for Windows.

Jun 02, 2024
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