Introduction to Polkit

Polkit is a toolkit for defining and handling authorizations. It is used for allowing unprivileged processes to communicate with privileged processes.



Development versions of BLFS may not build or run some packages properly if dependencies have been updated since the most recent stable versions of the book.

Package Information

Polkit Dependencies


GLib-2.72.3 and JS-91.12.0




Since systemd-logind uses PAM to register user sessions, it is a good idea to build Polkit with PAM support so systemd-logind can track Polkit sessions.


D-Bus Python-1.2.18 and dbusmock-0.28.4 (both needed for tests), GTK-Doc-1.33.2, and duktape

Required Runtime Dependencies


Optional Runtime Dependencies

One polkit authentication agent for using polkit in the graphical environment: polkit-kde-agent in Plasma-5.24.5 for KDE, the agent built in gnome-shell-42.3.1 for GNOME3, polkit-gnome-0.105 for XFCE, and lxpolkit in LXSession-0.5.5 for LXDE.



If libxslt-1.1.35 is installed, then docbook-xml-4.5 and docbook-xsl-nons-1.79.2 are required. If you have installed libxslt-1.1.35, but you do not want to install any of the DocBook packages mentioned, you will need to use -Dman=false in the instructions below.

User Notes: https://wiki.linuxfromscratch.org/blfs/wiki/polkit

Installation of Polkit

There should be a dedicated user and group to take control of the polkitd daemon after it is started. Issue the following commands as the root user:

groupadd -fg 27 polkitd &&
useradd -c "PolicyKit Daemon Owner" -d /etc/polkit-1 -u 27 \
        -g polkitd -s /bin/false polkitd

Install Polkit by running the following commands:

mkdir build &&
cd    build &&

meson --prefix=/usr                       \
      --buildtype=release                 \
      -Dman=true                          \
      -Dsession_tracking=libsystemd-login \
      -Dtests=true                        \
      -Djs_engine=mozjs                   \
      ..                                  &&

To test the results, first ensure that the system D-Bus daemon is running, and both D-Bus Python-1.2.18 and dbusmock-0.28.4 are installed. Then run meson test -t3.

Now, as the root user:

ninja install

Command Explanations

--buildtype=release: Specify a buildtype suitable for stable releases of the package, as the default may produce unoptimized binaries.

-Dtests=true: This switch allows to run the test suite of this package. As Polkit is used for authorizations, its integrity can affect system security. So it's recommended to run the test suite building this package.

-Djs_engine=mozjs: This switch allows using the Mozilla JavaScript engine instead of Duktape.

-Dauthfw=shadow: This switch enables the package to use the Shadow rather than the Linux PAM Authentication framework. Use it if you have not installed Linux PAM.

-Dintrospection=false: Use this option if you are certain that you do not need gobject-introspection files for polkit, or do not have gobject-introspection installed.

-Dman=false: Use this option to disable generating and installing manual pages. This is useful if libxslt is not installed.

-Dexamples=true: Use this option to build the example programs.

-Dgtk_doc=true: Use this option to enable building and installing the API documentation.

Configuring Polkit

PAM Configuration



If you did not build Polkit with Linux PAM support, you can skip this section.

If you have built Polkit with Linux PAM support, you need to modify the default PAM configuration file which was installed by default to get Polkit to work correctly with BLFS. Issue the following commands as the root user to create the configuration file for Linux PAM:

cat > /etc/pam.d/polkit-1 << "EOF"
# Begin /etc/pam.d/polkit-1

auth     include        system-auth
account  include        system-account
password include        system-password
session  include        system-session

# End /etc/pam.d/polkit-1


Installed Programs: pkaction, pkcheck, pkexec, pkttyagent and polkitd
Installed Libraries: libpolkit-agent-1.so and libpolkit-gobject-1.so
Installed Directories: /etc/polkit-1, /usr/include/polkit-1, /usr/lib/polkit-1, /usr/share/gtk-doc/html/polkit-1 and /usr/share/polkit-1

Short Descriptions


is used to obtain information about registered PolicyKit actions


is used to check whether a process is authorized for action


allows an authorized user to execute a command as another user


is used to start a textual authentication agent for the subject


provides the org.freedesktop.PolicyKit1 D-Bus service on the system message bus


contains the Polkit authentication agent API functions


contains the Polkit authorization API functions