login(1) — Linux manual page


LOGIN(1)                      User Commands                     LOGIN(1)

NAME         top

       login - begin session on the system

SYNOPSIS         top

       login [-p] [-h host] [-H] [-f username|username]

DESCRIPTION         top

       login is used when signing onto a system. If no argument is
       given, login prompts for the username.

       The user is then prompted for a password, where appropriate.
       Echoing is disabled to prevent revealing the password. Only a
       number of password failures are permitted before login exits and
       the communications link is severed. See LOGIN_RETRIES in the
       CONFIG FILE ITEMS section.

       If password aging has been enabled for the account, the user may
       be prompted for a new password before proceeding. In such case
       old password must be provided and the new password entered before
       continuing. Please refer to passwd(1) for more information.

       The user and group ID will be set according to their values in
       the /etc/passwd file. There is one exception if the user ID is
       zero. In this case, only the primary group ID of the account is
       set. This should allow the system administrator to login even in
       case of network problems. The environment variable values for
       $HOME, $USER, $SHELL, $PATH, $LOGNAME, and $MAIL are set
       according to the appropriate fields in the password entry. $PATH
       defaults to /usr/local/bin:/bin:/usr/bin for normal users, and to
       /usr/local/sbin:/usr/local/bin:/sbin:/bin:/usr/sbin:/usr/bin for
       root, if not otherwise configured.

       The environment variable $TERM will be preserved, if it exists,
       else it will be initialized to the terminal type on your tty.
       Other environment variables are preserved if the -p option is

       The environment variables defined by PAM are always preserved.

       Then the user’s shell is started. If no shell is specified for
       the user in /etc/passwd, then /bin/sh is used. If the specified
       shell contains a space, it is treated as a shell script. If there
       is no home directory specified in /etc/passwd, then / is used,
       followed by .hushlogin check as described below.

       If the file .hushlogin exists, then a "quiet" login is performed.
       This disables the checking of mail and the printing of the last
       login time and message of the day. Otherwise, if /var/log/lastlog
       exists, the last login time is printed, and the current login is

OPTIONS         top

           Used by getty(8) to tell login to preserve the environment.

           Used to skip a login authentication. This option is usually
           used by the getty(8) autologin feature.

           Used by other servers (such as telnetd(8) to pass the name of
           the remote host to login so that it can be placed in utmp and
           wtmp. Only the superuser is allowed use this option.

           Note that the -h option has an impact on the PAM service
           name. The standard service name is login, but with the -h
           option, the name is remote. It is necessary to create proper
           PAM config files (for example, /etc/pam.d/login and

           Used by other servers (for example, telnetd(8)) to tell login
           that printing the hostname should be suppressed in the login:
           prompt. See also LOGIN_PLAIN_PROMPT below.

       -h, --help
           Display help text and exit.

       -V, --version
           Print version and exit.


       login reads the /etc/login.defs configuration file (see
       login.defs(5)). Note that the configuration file could be
       distributed with another package (usually shadow-utils). The
       following configuration items are relevant for login:

       MOTD_FILE (string)
           Specifies a ":" delimited list of "message of the day" files
           and directories to be displayed upon login. If the specified
           path is a directory then displays all files with .motd file
           extension in version-sort order from the directory.

           The default value is
           /usr/share/misc/motd:/run/motd:/etc/motd. If the MOTD_FILE
           item is empty or a quiet login is enabled, then the message
           of the day is not displayed. Note that the same functionality
           is also provided by the pam_motd(8) PAM module.

           The directories in the MOTD_FILE are supported since version

           Note that login does not implement any filenames overriding
           behavior like pam_motd (see also MOTD_FIRSTONLY), but all
           content from all files is displayed. It is recommended to
           keep extra logic in content generators and use /run/motd.d
           rather than rely on overriding behavior hardcoded in system

       MOTD_FIRSTONLY (boolean)
           Forces login to stop display content specified by MOTD_FILE
           after the first accessible item in the list. Note that a
           directory is one item in this case. This option allows login
           semantics to be configured to be more compatible with
           pam_motd. The default value is no.

       LOGIN_PLAIN_PROMPT (boolean)
           Tell login that printing the hostname should be suppressed in
           the login: prompt. This is an alternative to the -H command
           line option. The default value is no.

       LOGIN_TIMEOUT (number)
           Maximum time in seconds for login. The default value is 60.

       LOGIN_RETRIES (number)
           Maximum number of login retries in case of a bad password.
           The default value is 3.

       LOGIN_KEEP_USERNAME (boolean)
           Tell login to only re-prompt for the password if
           authentication failed, but the username is valid. The default
           value is no.

       FAIL_DELAY (number)
           Delay in seconds before being allowed another three tries
           after a login failure. The default value is 5.

       TTYPERM (string)
           The terminal permissions. The default value is 0600 or 0620
           if tty group is used.

       TTYGROUP (string)
           The login tty will be owned by the TTYGROUP. The default
           value is tty. If the TTYGROUP does not exist, then the
           ownership of the terminal is set to the user’s primary group.

           The TTYGROUP can be either the name of a group or a numeric
           group identifier.

       HUSHLOGIN_FILE (string)
           If defined, this file can inhibit all the usual chatter
           during the login sequence. If a full pathname (for example,
           /etc/hushlogins) is specified, then hushed mode will be
           enabled if the user’s name or shell are found in the file. If
           this global hush login file is empty then the hushed mode
           will be enabled for all users.

           If a full pathname is not specified, then hushed mode will be
           enabled if the file exists in the user’s home directory.

           The default is to check /etc/hushlogins and if it does not
           exist then ~/.hushlogin.

           If the HUSHLOGIN_FILE item is empty, then all the checks are

       DEFAULT_HOME (boolean)
           Indicate if login is allowed if we cannot change directory to
           the home directory. If set to yes, the user will login in the
           root (/) directory if it is not possible to change directory
           to their home. The default value is yes.

       LASTLOG_UID_MAX (unsigned number)
           Highest user ID number for which the lastlog entries should
           be updated. As higher user IDs are usually tracked by remote
           user identity and authentication services there is no need to
           create a huge sparse lastlog file for them. No
           LASTLOG_UID_MAX option present in the configuration means
           that there is no user ID limit for writing lastlog entries.
           The default value is ULONG_MAX.

       LOG_UNKFAIL_ENAB (boolean)
           Enable display of unknown usernames when login failures are
           recorded. The default value is no.

           Note that logging unknown usernames may be a security issue
           if a user enters their password instead of their login name.

       ENV_PATH (string)
           If set, it will be used to define the PATH environment
           variable when a regular user logs in. The default value is

       ENV_ROOTPATH (string), ENV_SUPATH (string)
           If set, it will be used to define the PATH environment
           variable when the superuser logs in. ENV_ROOTPATH takes
           precedence. The default value is

FILES         top

       /var/run/utmp, /var/log/wtmp, /var/log/lastlog,
       /var/spool/mail/*, /etc/motd, /etc/passwd, /etc/nologin,
       /etc/pam.d/login, /etc/pam.d/remote, /etc/hushlogins,

CREDENTIALS         top

       login supports configuration via systemd credentials (see
       https://systemd.io/CREDENTIALS/). login reads the following
       systemd credentials:

       login.noauth (boolean)
           If set, configures login to skip login authentication,
           similarly to the -f option.

BUGS         top

       The undocumented BSD -r option is not supported. This may be
       required by some rlogind(8) programs.

       A recursive login, as used to be possible in the good old days,
       no longer works; for most purposes su(1) is a satisfactory
       substitute. Indeed, for security reasons, login does a vhangup(2)
       system call to remove any possible listening processes on the
       tty. This is to avoid password sniffing. If one uses the command
       login, then the surrounding shell gets killed by vhangup(2)
       because it’s no longer the true owner of the tty. This can be
       avoided by using exec login in a top-level shell or xterm.

AUTHORS         top

       Derived from BSD login 5.40 (5/9/89) by Michael Glad
       <glad@daimi.dk> for HP-UX. Ported to Linux 0.12: Peter Orbaek
       <poe@daimi.aau.dk>. Rewritten to a PAM-only version by Karel Zak

SEE ALSO         top

       mail(1), passwd(1), passwd(5), utmp(5), environ(7), getty(8),
       init(8), lastlog(8), shutdown(8)

REPORTING BUGS         top

       For bug reports, use the issue tracker at

AVAILABILITY         top

       The login command is part of the util-linux package which can be
       downloaded from Linux Kernel Archive
       <https://www.kernel.org/pub/linux/utils/util-linux/>. 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
       util-linux@vger.kernel.org. This page was obtained from the
       project's upstream Git repository
       ⟨git://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/utils/util-linux/util-linux.git⟩ on
       2024-06-14. (At that time, the date of the most recent commit
       that was found in the repository was 2024-06-10.) If you discover
       any rendering problems in this HTML version 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 manual page),
       send a mail to man-pages@man7.org

util-linux 2.41.devel-537-e... 2024-01-28                       LOGIN(1)

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