pam_env(8) — Linux manual page


PAM_ENV(8)                  Linux-PAM Manual                  PAM_ENV(8)

NAME         top

       pam_env - PAM module to set/unset environment variables

SYNOPSIS         top [debug] [conffile=conf-file] [envfile=env-file]
                  [readenv=0|1] [user_envfile=env-file]

DESCRIPTION         top

       The pam_env PAM module allows the (un)setting of environment
       variables. Supported is the use of previously set environment
       variables as well as PAM_ITEMs such as PAM_RHOST.

       By default rules for (un)setting of variables are taken from the
       config file /etc/security/pam_env.conf. An alternate file can be
       specified with the conffile option.

       Second a file (/etc/environment by default) with simple KEY=VAL
       pairs on separate lines will be read. With the envfile option an
       alternate file can be specified. And with the readenv option this
       can be completely disabled.

       Third it will read a user configuration file
       ($HOME/.pam_environment by default). The default file can be
       changed with the user_envfile option and it can be turned on and
       off with the user_readenv option.

       Since setting of PAM environment variables can have side effects
       to other modules, this module should be the last one on the

OPTIONS         top

           Indicate an alternative pam_env.conf style configuration file
           to override the default. This can be useful when different
           services need different environments.

           A lot of debug information is printed with syslog(3).

           Indicate an alternative environment file to override the
           default. The syntax are simple KEY=VAL pairs on separate
           lines. The export instruction can be specified for bash
           compatibility, but will be ignored. This can be useful when
           different services need different environments.

           Turns on or off the reading of the file specified by envfile
           (0 is off, 1 is on). By default this option is on.

           Indicate an alternative .pam_environment file to override the
           default.The syntax is the same as for
           /etc/security/pam_env.conf. The filename is relative to the
           user home directory. This can be useful when different
           services need different environments.

           Turns on or off the reading of the user specific environment
           file. 0 is off, 1 is on. By default this option is off as
           user supplied environment variables in the PAM environment
           could affect behavior of subsequent modules in the stack
           without the consent of the system administrator.

           Due to problematic security this functionality is deprecated
           since the 1.5.0 version and will be removed completely at
           some point in the future.


       The auth and session module types are provided.

RETURN VALUES         top

           Not all relevant data or options could be gotten.

           Memory buffer error.

           No pam_env.conf and environment file was found.

           Environment variables were set.

FILES         top

           Default configuration file

           Default environment file

           User specific environment file

SEE ALSO         top

       pam_env.conf(5), pam.d(5), pam(8), environ(7).

AUTHOR         top

       pam_env was written by Dave Kinchlea <>.

COLOPHON         top

       This page is part of the linux-pam (Pluggable Authentication
       Modules for Linux) project.  Information about the project can be
       found at ⟨⟩.  If you have a bug report
       for this manual page, see ⟨//⟩.  This page was
       obtained from the project's upstream Git repository
       ⟨⟩ on 2023-12-22.  (At
       that time, the date of the most recent commit that was found in
       the repository was 2023-12-18.)  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

Linux-PAM Manual               12/22/2023                     PAM_ENV(8)

Pages that refer to this page: runuser(1)su(1)pam_env.conf(5)systemd.exec(5)environ(7)