RUNUSER(1) User Commands RUNUSER(1)NAMErunuser - run a command with substitute user and group ID
SYNOPSISrunuser [options] -u user command [argument...]
runuser [options] [-] [ user [argument...] ]
DESCRIPTIONrunuser allows to run commands with substitute user and group ID. If
the option -u not given, fallback to su compatible semantic and shell
is executed. The difference between the commands runuser and su is
that runuser does not ask for password (because it may be executed by
root user only) and it uses a different PAM configuration. The command
runuser does not have to be installed with suid permissions.
When called without arguments runuser defaults to running an interac‐
tive 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.
OPTIONS-c command, --command=command
Pass command to the shell with the -c option.
Same as -c but do not create a new session (discouraged).
Pass -f to the shell which may or may not be useful depending on
specify the primary group, this option is allowed for root user
specify a supplemental group, this option is allowed for root
-, -l, --login
Starts the shell as login shell with an environment similar to a
o clears all 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
Preserves the whole environment, ie does not set HOME, SHELL,
USER nor LOGNAME. The option is ignored if the option --login
-s SHELL, --shell=SHELL
Runs 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 vari‐
ables are ignored unless the calling user is root.
--help Display help text and exit.
Display version information and exit.
CONFIG FILESrunuser reads the /etc/default/runuser and /etc/login.defs configura‐
tion files. The following configuration items are relevant for
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 spec‐
ified runuser initializes PATH.
EXIT STATUSrunuser 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 could was not found
default PAM configuration file
PAM configuration file if --login is specified
runuser specific logindef config file
/etc/login.defs global logindef config file
SEE ALSOpam(8), shells(5), login.defs(5), su(1)AUTHOR
Derived from coreutils' su which was based on an implemenation from
David MacKenzie and Fedora runuser command from Dan Walsh.
The runuser command is part of the util-linux package and is available
from Linux Kernel Archive ⟨ftp://ftp.kernel.org/pub/linux/utils/util-
util-linux August 2012 RUNUSER(1)