Fakeroot is a command line tool that allows an ordinary user to perform actions as if they were a root user, without actually having root privileges. It achieves this by intercepting requests made to the file system and altering the permissions and ownership information.
When executing a command with fakeroot, the tool creates a simulated root environment where the user appears to have full administrative access, although the actual actions are performed with regular user permissions.
This tool is often used in software packaging and building processes, where root privileges are needed to create or modify files, but it is not desirable or safe to run these actions as the superuser. By utilizing fakeroot, developers can build packages and manipulate file systems without compromising the security and stability of the system.
Fakeroot operates by intercepting system calls, such as file open, file write, and file stat, and temporarily replacing the requested file information with fake root-level permissions. This redirection enables the user to believe they are executing commands as root, though the underlying actions are limited to their user's permissions.
While fakeroot allows tasks to be performed as if running as root, it does not provide the extensive privileges or capabilities of the true root user. Certain functionalities, like modifying system files or accessing sensitive directories, are still restricted.
Fakeroot is commonly used in the Linux environment and is often paired with other tools like dpkg-buildpackage or make to create deb packages or build software with faux root privileges.
To use fakeroot, one simply prefixes the desired command with "fakeroot" in the terminal and executes it. The tool then takes care of simulating the root environment and handling file requests transparently.
It's important to note that while fakeroot may emulate root privileges within a specific command or process, it does not grant any actual root powers to the user and cannot overcome the inherent restrictions on non-root users.