Logged on as bryan@localserver, I'm trying to perform a backup using rsync on a remote host bryan@remoteserver.

I need the rsync connection to elevate privileges on the remote host using --rsync-path='sudo rsync', but I'm having problems, so have decided to simplify matters and just try to get the following working first:

bryan@localserver # ssh bryan@remoteserver 'sudo /usr/bin/whoami'

Once, I've cracked this, I should be able to get rsync working.

What I've done so far:

I've got ssh configured so that bryan@localserver can ssh to bryan@remoteserver using key instead of a password.

bryan@localserver # ssh bryan@remoteserver
bryan@remoteserver #

I've also configured bryan@remoteserver to be able to run /usr/bin/whoami as sudo, without a password in the sudoers file on remoteserver:

bryan   ALL=(ALL) NOPASSWD: /usr/bin/whoami

This works fine:

bryan@remotehost # sudo whoami

But from the local server:

bryan@localhost # ssh bryan@remoteserver 'sudo /usr/bin/whoami'
sudo: no tty present and no askpass program specified
Sorry, try again.
sudo: no tty present and no askpass program specified
Sorry, try again.
sudo: no tty present and no askpass program specified
Sorry, try again.
sudo: 3 incorrect password attempts

My complete sudoers file (minus the comments and blank lines) is below:

Defaults env_reset
Defaults secure_path="/usr/local/sbin:/usr/local/bin:/usr/sbin:/usr/bin:/sbin:/bin"
Defaults !requiretty
root    ALL=(ALL:ALL) ALL
bryan   ALL=(ALL) NOPASSWD: /usr/bin/whoami
%admin  ALL=(ALL) ALL
%sudo   ALL=(ALL:ALL) ALL

ssh -t from localserver solves the 'no tty present' error, but still prompts me for bryan@remotehost's password.

Can anyone please explain what the problem is?

localserver is Ubuntu 10.04 x64, remoteserver is Ubuntu 12.04 x64.

1 Answer 1


Are you a member of the sudo group or admin group? From the sudoers man page:

When multiple entries match for a user, they are applied in order. Where there are multiple matches, the last match is used (which is not necessarily the most specific match).

You can move your bryan ALL=(ALL) NOPASSWD: /usr/bin/whoami line to the bottom so it is the last match. This should keep you from being prompted for a password.


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