GETLOGIN

Section: Linux Programmer's Manual (3)
Updated: 2003-08-24
Index Return to Main Contents
 

NAME

getlogin, getlogin_r, cuserid - get user name  

SYNOPSIS

#include <unistd.h>

char *getlogin(void);
int getlogin_r(char *buf, size_t bufsize);

#include <stdio.h>

char *cuserid(char *string);  

DESCRIPTION

getlogin() returns a pointer to a string containing the name of the user logged in on the controlling terminal of the process, or a null pointer if this information cannot be determined. The string is statically allocated and might be overwritten on subsequent calls to this function or to cuserid().

getlogin_r() returns this same user name in the array buf of size bufsize.

cuserid() returns a pointer to a string containing a user name associated with the effective user ID of the process. If string is not a null pointer, it should be an array that can hold at least L_cuserid characters; the string is returned in this array. Otherwise, a pointer to a string in a static area is returned. This string is statically allocated and might be overwritten on subsequent calls to this function or to getlogin().

The macro L_cuserid is an integer constant that indicates how long an array you might need to store a user name. L_cuserid is declared in stdio.h.

These functions let your program identify positively the user who is running (cuserid()) or the user who logged in this session (getlogin()). (These can differ when set-user-ID programs are involved.)

For most purposes, it is more useful to use the environment variable LOGNAME to find out who the user is. This is more flexible precisely because the user can set LOGNAME arbitrarily.  

RETURN VALUE

getlogin() returns a pointer to the user name when successful, and NULL on failure. getlogin_r() returns 0 when successful, and non-zero on failure.  

ERRORS

POSIX specifies
EMFILE
The calling process already has the maximum allowed number of open files.
ENFILE
The system already has the maximum allowed number of open files.
ENXIO
The calling process has no controlling tty.
ERANGE
(getlogin_r) The length of the user name, including the terminating null byte, is larger than bufsize.

Linux/glibc also has

ENOENT
There was no corresponding entry in the utmp-file.
ENOMEM
Insufficient memory to allocate passwd structure.
 

FILES

/etc/passwd     password database file

/var/run/utmp (traditionally /etc/utmp; some libc versions used /var/adm/utmp)
 

CONFORMING TO

getlogin() and getlogin_r() specified in POSIX.1-2001.

System V has a cuserid() function which uses the real user ID rather than the effective user ID. The cuserid() function was included in the 1988 version of POSIX, but removed from the 1990 version. It was present in SUSv2, but removed in POSIX.1-2001.

OpenBSD has getlogin() and setlogin(), and a username associated with a session, even if it has no controlling tty.  

BUGS

Unfortunately, it is often rather easy to fool getlogin(). Sometimes it does not work at all, because some program messed up the utmp file. Often, it gives only the first 8 characters of the login name. The user currently logged in on the controlling tty of our program need not be the user who started it. Avoid getlogin() for security-related purposes.

Note that glibc does not follow the POSIX spec and uses stdin instead of /dev/tty. A bug. (Other recent systems, like SunOS 5.8 and HP-UX 11.11 and FreeBSD 4.8 all return the login name also when stdin is redirected.)

Nobody knows precisely what cuserid() does; avoid it in portable programs. Or avoid it altogether: use getpwuid(geteuid()) instead, if that is what you meant. DO NOT USE cuserid().  

SEE ALSO

geteuid(2), getuid(2)


 

Index

NAME
SYNOPSIS
DESCRIPTION
RETURN VALUE
ERRORS
FILES
CONFORMING TO
BUGS
SEE ALSO

linux.jgfs.net manual pages