runuser allows to run commands with a substitute user and group ID.
If the option -u is not given, it falls back to su-compatible
semantics and a shell is executed. The difference between the
commands runuser and su is that runuser does not ask for a password
(because it may be executed by the root user only) and it uses a
different PAM configuration. The command runuser does not have to be
installed with set-user-ID permissions.
If the PAM session is not required then recommended solution is to
use setpriv(1) command.
When called without arguments, runuser defaults to running an
interactive shell as root.
For backward compatibility, runuser defaults to not change the
current directory and to only set the environment variables HOME and
SHELL (plus USER and LOGNAME if the target user is not root). This
version of runuser uses PAM for session management.
Pass command to the shell with the -c option.
Pass -f to the shell, which may or may not be useful depending
on the shell.
The primary group to be used. This option is allowed for the
root user only.
Specify a supplemental group. This option is available to the
root user only. The first specified supplementary group is
also used as a primary group if the option --group is
-, -l, --login
Start the shell as a login shell with an environment similar
to a real login:
o clears all the environment variables except for TERM
o initializes the environment variables HOME, SHELL,
USER, LOGNAME, PATH
o changes to the target user's home directory
o sets argv of the shell to '-' in order to make
the shell a login shell
-m, -p, --preserve-environment
Preserve the entire environment, i.e. it does not set HOME,
SHELL, USER nor LOGNAME. The option is ignored if the option
--login is specified.
Run the specified shell instead of the default. The shell to
run is selected according to the following rules, in order:
o the shell specified with --shell
o the shell specified in the environment variable
SHELL if the --preserve-environment option is used
o the shell listed in the passwd entry of the target
If the target user has a restricted shell (i.e. not listed in
/etc/shells) the --shell option and the SHELL environment
variables are ignored unless the calling user is root.
Same as -c , but do not create a new session. (Discouraged.)
Display version information and exit.
Display help text and exit.
runuser reads the /etc/default/runuser and /etc/login.defs
configuration files. The following configuration items are relevant
Defines the PATH environment variable for a regular user. The
default value is /usr/local/bin:/bin:/usr/bin.
Defines the PATH environment variable for root. The default value
If set to yes and --login and --preserve-environment were not
specified runuser initializes PATH.
runuser normally returns the exit status of the command it executed.
If the command was killed by a signal, runuser returns the number of
the signal plus 128.
Exit status generated by runuser itself:
1 Generic error before executing the requested command
126 The requested command could not be executed
127 The requested command was not found
This page is part of the util-linux (a random collection of Linux
utilities) project. Information about the project can be found at
⟨https://www.kernel.org/pub/linux/utils/util-linux/⟩. If you have a
bug report for this manual page, send it to
email@example.com. This page was obtained from the
project's upstream Git repository
2017-03-13. If you discover any rendering problems in this HTML ver‐
sion of the page, or you believe there is a better or more up-to-date
source for the page, or you have corrections or improvements to the
information in this COLOPHON (which is not part of the original man‐
ual page), send a mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
util-linux July 2014 RUNUSER(1)