Calife - a lightweight alternative to sudo(1)
Calife is a program similar to
sudo(1) I wrote years ago, way before
sudo existed. It does not allow to filter which commands one is allowed to use, just which account one is able to become (
root or otherwise).
Here is an extensive list of features:
- you keep your environment variables and shell aliases intact
- it has start and end of session logging
- you can have a list of all permitted logins for each calife user. That way, you can give a user newsmaster’s rights without giving out the
- you can specify a group in the configuration file instead of the logins of all administrators: Juste use
%staffand all members of the
staffgroup will have access to calife
- calife can also be used to become users even if they have no home directory or even no shell. That’s very practical if you want to become
- you can make calife runs a specific system-wide script at the end of the session (to send a mailabout what was done as
The main command is named
calife (historically named
calife [-] [login]
... [-] [login] for some sites
check with your administrator.
There are currently two branches of development of
Calife: the 2.x is the stable (or to be more precise, the one I will not develop any further) and the main 3.x branch, the one that is PAM compatible, suited for UNIX systems like FreeBSD, Linux and MacOS X.
Latest version is 3.0.6, see the announcement.
The command was initially written in 1991 when I was working part-time system administrator at the French TV channel Antenne 2 (now called France 2). It has grown over the years with more features and fixes.
It is named after a famous French comic called Iznogoud where the main character (the Vizir) always plot to become “Calife in place of the Calife” and invariably fail.