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Editing system files from within Emacs

Recently, I have confronted the problem of how best to edit system files
while logged in as an ordinary user and working via Emacspeak. My solution
involves visiting the relevant directory in shell mode, becoming the super
user, changing the ownership of the file temporarily from "root" to my
login name, editing the file in Emacs (with find-file: c-x, c-f) and then,
after having saved the file, changing its ownership back to "root". I also
tried running Emacs from an eterm buffer, but the cursor keys did not
operate correctly and editing text was not very convenient.

Has anyone devised a better approach than those outlined above?


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