Provided by: util-linux_2.37.2-4ubuntu3.4_amd64 bug


       runuser - run a command with substitute user and group ID


       runuser [options] -u user [[--] command [argument...]]

       runuser [options] [-] [user [argument...]]


       runuser can be used to run commands with a substitute user and group ID. If the option -u
       is not given, runuser 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

       If the PAM session is not required, then the recommended solution is to use the setpriv(1)

       When called without arguments, runuser defaults to running an interactive shell as root.

       For backward compatibility, runuser defaults to not changing the current directory and to
       setting only 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.

       Note that runuser in all cases use PAM (pam_getenvlist()) to do the final environment
       modification. Command-line options such as --login and --preserve-environment affect the
       environment before it is modified by PAM.


       -c, --command=command
           Pass command to the shell with the -c option.

       -f, --fast
           Pass -f to the shell, which may or may not be useful, depending on the shell.

       -g, --group=group
           The primary group to be used. This option is allowed for the root user only.

       -G, --supp-group=group
           Specify a supplementary 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 not specified.

       -, -l, --login
           Start the shell as a login shell with an environment similar to a real login:

           •   clears all the environment variables except for TERM and variables specified by

           •   initializes the environment variables HOME, SHELL, USER, LOGNAME, and PATH

           •   changes to the target user’s home directory

           •   sets argv[0] of the shell to '-' in order to make the shell a login shell

       -P, --pty
           Create a pseudo-terminal for the session. The independent terminal provides better
           security as the user does not share a terminal with the original session. This can be
           used to avoid TIOCSTI ioctl terminal injection and other security attacks against
           terminal file descriptors. The entire session can also be moved to the background
           (e.g., runuser --pty -u username  command &). If the pseudo-terminal is enabled, then
           runuser works as a proxy between the sessions (copy stdin and stdout).

           This feature is mostly designed for interactive sessions. If the standard input is not
           a terminal, but for example a pipe (e.g., echo "date" | runuser --pty -u user), then
           the ECHO flag for the pseudo-terminal is disabled to avoid messy output.

       -m, -p, --preserve-environment
           Preserve the entire environment, i.e., do not set HOME, SHELL, USER or LOGNAME. The
           option is ignored if the option --login is specified.

       -s, --shell=shell
           Run the specified shell instead of the default. The shell to run is selected according
           to the following rules, in order:

           •   the shell specified with --shell

           •   the shell specified in the environment variable SHELL if the
               --preserve-environment option is used

           •   the shell listed in the passwd entry of the target user

           •   /bin/sh

               If the target user has a restricted shell (i.e., not listed in /etc/shells), then
               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.)

       -w, --whitelist-environment=list
           Don’t reset the environment variables specified in the comma-separated list when
           clearing the environment for --login. The whitelist is ignored for the environment
           variables HOME, SHELL, USER, LOGNAME, and PATH.

       -V, --version
           Display version information and exit.

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


       runuser reads the /etc/default/runuser and /etc/login.defs configuration files. The
       following configuration items are relevant for runuser:

       ENV_PATH (string)
           Defines the PATH environment variable for a regular user. The default value is

       ENV_ROOTPATH (string), ENV_SUPATH (string)
           Defines the PATH environment variable for root. ENV_SUPATH takes precedence. The
           default value is /usr/local/sbin:/usr/local/bin:/sbin:/bin:/usr/sbin:/usr/bin.

       ALWAYS_SET_PATH (boolean)
           If set to yes and --login and --preserve-environment were not specified runuser
           initializes PATH.

       The environment variable PATH may be different on systems where /bin and /sbin are merged
       into /usr; this variable is also affected by the --login command-line option and the PAM
       system setting (e.g., pam_env(8)).


       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:

           Generic error before executing the requested command

           The requested command could not be executed

           The requested command was not found


           default PAM configuration file

           PAM configuration file if --login is specified

           runuser specific logindef config file

           global logindef config file


       This runuser command was derived from coreutils' su, which was based on an implementation
       by David MacKenzie, and the Fedora runuser command by Dan Walsh.


       setpriv(1), su(1), login.defs(5), shells(5), pam(8)


       For bug reports, use the issue tracker at


       The runuser command is part of the util-linux package which can be downloaded from Linux
       Kernel Archive <>.