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Why does pure-ftpwho require root permissions to run, if you run it without it you get,

You must be root to run this. Sorry.

However, /usr/bin/who can run fine without root?

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

From the pure-FTPd FAQ

How do I give access to the 'pure-ftpwho' command to non-root users?

The 'pure-ftpwho' command is restricted to root by default, because users probably shouldn't be given the ability to spy what other users are doing on the same host. However, it's safe to put the setuid bit on that command, in order to have it work as any user:

sudo chmod 4711 /usr/sbin/pure-ftpwho
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