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An unprivileged sudo.

enter-uml gives you root privileges to interact with a uml kernel of your choosing. You may test system calls, filesystems, and some device drivers without crashing your machine and without root privileges. This is also useful if you have root but module loading is restricted.

enter-uml does some minimal set up so that your filesystems are reused — you do not need a root filesystem image — and so that the inner context is very close to the outer environment. This makes usage similar to sudo; your privileges have been raised and you retain access to the same filesystem environment to run commands from. Limitations: there is no network access, and dynamic device node creation is done by launching udev/eudev by hand.

A suitable kernel can be installed with

sudo apt-get install user-mode-linux

on Ubuntu and Debian. You can also download from or build your own. If you want to step inside the kernel, you can use the --gdb flag and set breakpoints before entering.

enter-uml requires Python 3.3.