One of the annoying things about maintaining CENTOS installations is performing system maintenance as the super user from the command line. Don’t get me wrong but I was programming before graphical interfaces(BGI). The command line is a good and trusty way to perform maintenance. As long as everything works you can get by with a minimum of memorization. Since most of us live in an after graphical interfaces(AGI) world and we do not practice our Linux command line knowledge on a daily basis, we quickly get rusty on the tricks of the trade and yearn for an easier way. Something with a fast learning curve. This is precisely why we have graphical interfaces.
For reasons I did not understand until today CENTOS does not make it easy to run graphical programs as the super user, such as nautilius and gedit. Ubuntu offers a fairly simple way to create menu items to start graphical programs as a super user, gksudo. CENTOS does not offer this utility in either Version 4 or 5. A similar utility, kdesu, was offered in CENTOS Version 4 but is not offered in CENTOS 5. Opening a terminal window and running SUDO is an pretty clumsy option so I was pretty sure that there probably was a better way! I wanted a menu item like the other system maintenance menu items that would authenticate me before running an application as a super user.
Today I found the answer. Matt Hansen wrote a tip how to “How to run a program from GNOME menu with root privileges ” back in 2004. The tip uses a utility called consolehelper. You have to create a couple of configuration files but the whole process can be completed in about five minutes. It is interesting that today was the first time I found a reference that claims consolehelper is the “proper” way to solve the “missing” gksudo problem.