RUNGETTY(8) - man page online | administration and privileged commands

A minimal console getty that can run any process.

04 February 1999
RUNGETTY(8)                         Linux Programmer's Manual                         RUNGETTY(8)


rungetty - a minimal console getty that can run any process


rungetty [--noclear] [--long-hostname] [-u username] [-g group] [-w path] [-n priority] [--prompt [=string]] [-d n] [--autologin username] tty [--] [command] [arguments]


rungetty is a getty for use on virtual consoles which has the ability to run any program, not just login(1). Like mingetty(8), on which rungetty is based, rungetty isn't suitable for serial use. Both I and the author of mingetty(8) recommend mgetty(8) for that. It is useful, though, for keeping programs such as, say, telnet(1), running at all times. When running a program other than login, it is executed as the user and group nobody, or the user specified by username and group specified by group.


--noclear Do not clear the screen before prompting for the login name (the screen is normally cleared). --long-hostname By default the hostname is only printed until the first dot. With this option enabled, the full text from gethostname() is shown. -u username By default, rungetty runs programs as nobody. With this option, it runs as the user username. -g group By default, rungetty runs as the group nobody. This option allows you to tell rungetty to run programs as the group group. --prompt [=string] This option causes rungetty to wait until user input (usually an 'Enter') before executing the program. If string is specified, it will be displayed. Otherwise, a default prompt will be shown. -n n ´nice´ value of specified program. -w path Working directory of specified program. -d n Specifying -d will make rungetty wait n seconds before running the specified pro‐ gram. --autologin username Log the specified user onto the console (normally /dev/tty1) when the system is first booted without prompting for a username or password. When the autologin option is supplied, rungetty will check that the controlling terminal is the console (normally /dev/tty1), that a reasonable username has been supplied, and that this is the first autologin request since the system has booted. If all of these conditions have been met, a request for an unauthenticated login is passed to the login program. Otherwise, a normal interactive login is performed. The login program may deny the request for an unauthenticated login. Typically this will happen when the user is root, has a UID of 0, or whenever a normal inter‐ active login would be denied due to the access restrictions specified in the nolo‐ gin, usertty, or securetty files. Only a single autologin request will be issued after a system boot. If the auto‐ mated login request is denied, or if the user logs out, rungetty will revert to performing normal interactive logins for all subsequent login requests. -- Tells rungetty that there are no more options to parse, useful for passing argu‐ ments with a - in them to the external program.


tty Name of the tty to run on. command Runs specified command. Searches for command in /bin, /usr/bin, /usr/ucb, /usr/local/bin if the complete pathname and filename are not given. [arguments] Command line arguments to pass to command.


rungetty recognizes the following escape sequences which might be embedded in the /etc/issue file: \d insert current day (localtime), \l insert line on which rungetty is running, \m inserts machine architecture (uname -m), \n inserts machine's network node hostname (uname -n), \o inserts domain name, \r inserts operating system release (uname -r), \t insert current time (localtime), \s inserts operating system name, \u resp. \U the current number of users which are currently logged in. \U inserts "n users", where as \u only inserts "n". \v inserts operating system version (uname -v).


In /etc/inittab, these lines: r1:12345:respawn:/sbin/rungetty tty1 r2:2345:respawn:/sbin/rungetty tty2 telnet r3:2345:respawn:/sbin/rungetty tty3 -u support top r4:2345:respawn:/sbin/rungetty tty4 -n 20 -w /etc rc5des Would run a local login on /dev/tty1,a telnet(1) session to on /dev/tty2,and top(5)on /dev/tty3. Note that telnet(1) is run as user nobody, while top(5) is run as user support, and start the program rc5des(5) at the lowest priority level with a current directory of /etc.


/etc/issue, /var/run/utmp, /var/log/autologin.


Please send all bug reports to


There are no known bugs.


mingetty(8), mgetty(8).


Copyright © 1999 Jakob Kaivo <>.
Jakob 'sparky' Kaivo 04 February 1999 RUNGETTY(8)
This manual Reference Other manuals
rungetty(8) referred by
refer to login(1) | mgetty(8) | mingetty(8)