login -- give access to the system


login [ -cf ] [ name [ env-var ] ]

login [ -c ] [ -r remotehost remotename localname ] ...


The login command is used at the beginning of each terminal session to identify users and allow them access to the system. It cannot be invoked except when a connection is first established, or after the previous user has logged out by sending an end-of-file (<Ctrl>d) to their initial shell.

login asks for a user name (if not supplied as an argument), and, if appropriate, the user's password and a dialup password. (For information on dialup passwords, refer to passwd(C)). Echoing is turned off (where possible) during the typing of the passwords, so it will not appear on the written record of the session.

If the user makes a mistake in the login procedure the user will receive the message ``Login incorrect'' and a new login prompt will appear. The number of login attempts the user is allowed is configurable. If the user makes too many unsuccessful login attempts, the user or the terminal can be locked out.

If the login sequence is not completed successfully within a configurable period of time (for example, one minute), the user is returned to the ``login:'' prompt or silently disconnected from a dial-in line. The login timeout period is controlled by the terminal control database (/etc/auth/system/ttys and /etc/auth/system/default), and should be configured using the Terminal Manager.

The -c option must be specified to enable accounting for logins that use pseudo-ttys (over a network or on an mscreen(M)). It can also be used safely for ordinary logins.

The -f option enables user login directly without requesting for a password. For instance, login -f name.

The form of the command that uses the -r option is used for remote logins across a network. The remote login must supply parameters in the order indicated; these are the name of the remote host from which the login is being attempted, the user's name on the remote host, and the user's name on the local host (on which the login process is running). This form of the login command is intended for use by network software rather than users.

After a successful login, accounting files (/etc/utmp and /etc/wtmp) are updated, the user is notified if they have mail, and the start-up shell files (.profile for the Bourne shell or .login for the C-shell) if any, are executed.

Login sets the user's supplemental groups list. If the file .suppgroups is in the user's home directory, the supplemental groups list is taken from this. The .suppgroups file contains a list of group names, one per line. Groups are verified before they are added to the supplemental group list.

To be able to use a group, a user must either be explicitly listed in that group in /etc/group, or the group must have the group ID listed for the user in the /etc/passwd file. If no .suppgroups file is found, the supplemental groups list is set from the /etc/group file plus the login group ID.

If the hushlogin feature is enabled in /etc/default/login and a file named .hushlogin exists in the user's home directory, login suppresses the printing of the last successful and last unsuccessful login times and the copyright messages. login also sets the environment variable HUSHLOGIN to TRUE, so the system and user initialization files are aware a hushlogin is taking place and can suppress output as appropriate (typically the message of the day, and the calling of mail(C) and news(C) are suppressed). The .hushlogin file itself does not need to contain anything; it only needs to exist.

login checks /etc/default/login for the following definitions of the form DEFINE=value:

If ALTSHELL is set to YES or if it is not present in /etc/default/login, then the SHELL environment variable is set to whatever shell is specified in the user's /etc/passwd entry. If ALTSHELL is set to NO, then the SHELL environment variable is set only if the shell is defined in the /usr/lib/mkuser directory (which is list of recognized shells).

The CONSOLE=device entry means that root can only log in on the device listed. For example, CONSOLE=/dev/tty01 restricts root logins to the first console multiscreen device; this also disables network root logins.

The ALLOWHUSH entry is used to enable or disable the hushlogin feature on a system-wide basis. If ALLOWHUSH=YES, login checks for the existence of a .hushlogin file in the user's home directory. If the file exists, the environment variable HUSHLOGIN is set to TRUE and a quiet login takes place. If ALLOWHUSH=NO or ALLOWHUSH=YES and there is no .hushlogin file in the user's home directory, the environment variable HUSHLOGIN is set to FALSE and the normal login messages appear. If there is no ALLOWHUSH entry, the HUSHLOGIN environment variable is not set and the normal login messages appear.

If a password has expired, the user is prompted to choose a new one. If it has expired beyond IDLEWEEKS, the user is not allowed to log in, and must consult system administrator. This works in conjunction with passwd.

This allows root to log in on the console even if the Protected Password database entry for root is corrupted. login checks /etc/default/login to see if there is an entry similar to the following, which identifies the tty to be used when doing an override login for root:

If PASSREQ=YES, a password is required. Users who do not have a password will be forced to select one. PASSREQ=NO allows users to have accounts without passwords.

The REUSEUID entry is used by unretire(ADM) and rmuser(ADM).

If a user's UID is 0 (that is, if this is the super user), the PATH variable is set to SUPATH, if SUPATH is specified in /etc/default/login. It is not advisable for SUPATH to include the current directory symbol ``.''. Note that an empty directory (``::'' or ``:'' at the beginning or end) is equivalent to ``.''.

This variable defines the maximum allowable file size. The default value used by the kernel is specified in the file mtune(F) as 4,194,303 blocks, or approximately 2GB. This value can be changed using configure(ADM); however, for login sessions, a lower value specified in /etc/default/login overrides the kernel default value.

This is the default file creation mask (see umask(C)).
login initializes the user and group IDs and the working directory, then executes a command interpreter (usually sh(C)) according to specifications found in the /etc/passwd file. Argument 0 of the command interpreter is a dash (-) followed by the last component of the interpreter's pathname. The basic environment (see environ(M)) is initialized to:

HOME= user-login-directory
SHELL=last field of passwd entry


Initially, umask is set to octal 022 by login.


Not on system console
login is set up to allow root to log on to the console only, and the user is not on the system console.

Login incorrect
The login or dialup password is incorrect.

Unable to change directory to dir
login cannot change directories to the home directory as specified by /etc/passwd.

No utmp entry. You must exec 'login' from the lowest level 'sh'.
init did not put an entry in utmp.

No Root Directory
The shell field starts with a ``*'', and the attempt to do a chroot to the home directory failed.

You don't have a password.
A password is required and it has not been set previously.

Protected Password information suddenly vanished
During the course of working with the Protected Password database information the pointer pointing to the static version of the information has suddenly disappeared.

Cannot execute passwd program
The password program cannot be executed for some reason.

Login aborted due to no password.
The password program has returned an error while setting a password, as when the <Del> key is pressed.

Can't rewrite Protected Password entry for user name,

Authentication error; see Account Administrator
The login program cannot update the Protected Password database entry.

Protected Password database problem
After updating Protected Password data, login reads the information again and the entry cannot be read. This can be caused by redundant database backup files and/or lockfiles; these may be distinguished by a -t suffix. See tcbck(ADM) for information on these files and how to remove them from the system.

Account is disabled but console login is allowed.

Account is disabled -- see Account Administrator.
If the account is locked, but root is logging in on the console (OVERRIDE tty), the first message is displayed; an ordinary user will see the second.

Account has been retired -- logins are no longer allowed.
The account is retired - see unretire(ADM) and rmuser(ADM) on how to unretire or remove an account.

Cannot set terminal mode.
The chmod of the tty failed.

Bad login user id.
No UID has been set. This can be due to a missing critical database file, such as /etc/auth/system/authorize. Run authck(ADM) and check any error messages. This message will also be issued if login is run from an established login session rather that from init(M).

Wait for login retry.
"Wait for login exit." A login attempt has failed, and the system is configured to enforce a delay between login attempts.

user appears in /etc/passwd but not in Protected Password database
If the user is in /etc/passwd but not in the Protected Password database, there is no message printed, but login generates the audit record shown above.

Cannot obtain database information on this terminal
login cannot get information from /etc/auth/system/ttys for the tty line.

Error in terminal setup.
Something is wrong with the terminal setup (for example, stdin, stdout, and stderr are the same thing.)

Cannot obtain settings for this terminal
The ioctl(S) on the tty device failed.

No login program on root
When attempting to perform a sublogin (using chroot(ADM) to change to a subtree for a restricted login), no login program was found.

Can't rewrite terminal control entry for tty,

Authentication error; see Account Administrator
The information for the login tty cannot be updated.

Terminal Control information suddenly vanished
During the course of working with the terminal database information the pointer pointing to the static version of the information suddenly disappeared.

Bad priority setting.
nice failed to set the nice value specified in the Protected Password entry for the user.

Bad supplemental group list.
The call to setgroups failed.

Bad group id.
The call to setgid failed.

Bad user id.
The call to setuid failed.

Unable to set kernel privileges.
The call to set the kernel privileges failed.

Login timed out
login received an ALARM signal. Note: login sets this itself, but it could conceivably come from somewhere else.

Terminal is disabled but root login is allowed.

Terminal is disabled -- see Account Administrator.
If the terminal is disabled and root attempts to login on the (OVERRIDE) tty the first message is displayed; the second message is displayed when any other user attempts to login on a disabled terminal.

The security databases are corrupt.

However, root login at terminal tty is allowed,
This is the message displayed when the OVERRIDE tty is used during a security problem.

Impossible to execute /bin/sh!
login cannot execute the shell program for doing an OVERRIDE.


login cannot be executed from a shell.

If the Network Information Service (NIS) is disabled, accounts that are normally accessed from an NIS server will not be able to log in.

Environment variables such as HZ, PATH, and so forth should not be defined in /etc/default/login. Instead use /etc/initscript to set global variables.

Sublogins (indicated by a shell of ``*'') are not supported and cause a warning.

Although IDLEWEEKS and PASSREQ are supported for compatibility with other UNIX systems, their use is not recommended. The proper way to set the behavior defined by these variables is by use of the Accounts Manager.


Users with the auth authorization in authorize(F) may not use login within a session. Refer to subsystem(M) for details.


information on current logins

history of logins since last multiuser

mailbox for user name

message of the day

default values for environment variables and login behavior

password file

system profile for Bourne or Korn shell

personal profile for Bourne or Korn shell

personal C shell login file

personal C shell initialization file

supplemental groups file

make login quieter

See also

environ(M), getty(M), mail(C), newgrp(C), passwd(C), passwd(F), profile(M), rmuser(ADM), sh(C), sg(C), su(C), ulimit(S), umask(C), unretire(ADM), who(C)
© 2003 Caldera International, Inc. All rights reserved.
SCO OpenServer Release 5.0.7 -- 11 February 2003