runuser — run a command with substitute user and group ID
−u user command [
−] [ user [ argument...
allows to run commands with a substitute user and group ID.
If the option
−u is not
given, it falls back to su-compatible semantics and
a shell is executed. The difference between the commands
su is that
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 suid permissions.
When called without arguments, runuser defaults to running an interactive shell as root.
For backward compatibility, runuser defaults to not
change the current directory and to only set the environment
LOGNAME if the target
user is not root). This version
of runuser uses
PAM for session management.
to the shell with the
−f to the
shell, which may or may not be useful depending on the
The primary group to be used. This option is allowed for the root user only.
Specify a supplemental group. This option is
available to the root user only. The first specified
supplementary group is also used as a primary group if
−−group is unspecified.
−, −l, −−login
Start the shell as a login shell with an environment similar to a real login:
clears all the environment variables except for
initializes the environment variables
changes to the target user's home directory
sets argv of the shell to '
−' in order to make the shell a login shell
−m, −p, −−preserve−environment
Preserve the entire environment, i.e. it does not
LOGNAME. The option is ignored if the
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
the shell specified in the environment variable
−−preserve−environmentoption is used
the shell listed in the passwd entry of the target user
If the target user has a restricted shell (i.e. not
listed in /etc/shells) the
−−shell option and the
variables are ignored unless the calling user is
−c , but
do not create a new session. (Discouraged.)
Display version information and exit.
Display help text and exit.
configuration files. The following configuration items are
relevant for runuser:
Defines the PATH environment variable for a regular user. The default value is
Defines the PATH environment variable for root. The default value is
If set to yes and −−login and −−preserve−environment were not specified runuser initializes
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.
The runuser command is part of the util-linux package and is available from Linux Kernel Archive