If you have used your fresh Ubuntu install for longer than half an hour, chances are that you've discovered the sudo command already.
sudo allows certain users to execute a command under another user's privileges. Most commonly, using sudo implies running a command as a superuser, but the approach works equally well for allowing you to inherit a user ID (uid) and group ID (gid) of any user on the system.
To gain access, a password is asked, and by default it is your password, and not the password of a user you're trying to run a command as. This allows for the system' s administrator to effectively manage user privileges without having any user share their password.