Ubuntu – What’s the difference between ‘sudo [command]’ and ‘sudo sh [command]


I'm trying to install VMware Workstation in my Ubuntu 12.04.2 LTS.
If I execute the following command:

sudo ./VMware-Workstation-9.0.1-894247.x86_64.bundle

it finishes at once and the installation never starts.

If I execute this command:

sudo sh ./VMware-Workstation-9.0.1-894247.x86_64.bundle

The installer can be launched successfully.

Why does this make a difference?

Best Answer

If the file is not marked as executable you need to call a command shell interpreter to execute it.


  • sudo sh foo will open foo with sh using sudo privileges.

  • sudo bash foo will open foo with bash using sudo privileges.

  • sh foo will open foo with sh using your user's privileges.

  • bash foo will open foo with bash using your user's privileges.

If you mark a file as executable you just need to call it with ./foo and because it is marked as such it will be read with the defined command shell interpreter and executed without the need to define one.

ls -F will list files and mark executables with *.

To enable the execute bit on a file (and make it executable as such) use the command chmod +x foo.

In your case to make the file you are using executable you would then use the command

chmod +x VMware-Workstation-9.0.1-894247.x86_64.bundle

and then you will be able to run it with either

sudo sh ./VMware-Workstation-9.0.1-894247.x86_64.bundle or just by typing sudo ./VMware-Workstation-9.0.1-894247.x86_64.bundle.