pam_console(8) -- Linux man page



pam_console - control permissions for users at the system console  


session optional /lib/security/
auth required /lib/security/  

DESCRIPTION is designed to give users at the physical console (virtual terminals and local xdm-managed X sessions by default, but that is configurable) capabilities that they would not otherwise have, and to take those capabilities away when the are no longer logged in at the console. It provides two main kinds of capabilities: file permissions and authentication.

When a user logs in at the console and no other user is currently logged in at the console, will change permissions and ownership of files as described in the file /etc/security/console.perms. That user may then log in on other terminals that are considered part of the console, and as long as the user is still logged in at any one of those terminals, that user will own those devices. When the user logs out of the last terminal, the console may be taken by the next user to log in. Other users who have logged in at the console during the time that the first user was logged in will not be given ownership of the devices unless they log in on one of the terminals; having done so on any one terminal, the next user will own those devices until he or she has logged out of every terminal that is part of the physical console. Then the race can start for the next user. In practice, this is not a problem; the physical console is not generally in use by many people at the same time, and just tries to do the right thing in weird cases.  


turns on debugging
gain console locks and change permissions even if the TTY's owner is not root.
tells to get its permissions database from a different file than /etc/security/console.perms
tells to read the table of configured filesystems from a file other than /etc/fstab when scanning permsfile. This file is used to map directories to device names.




/usr/share/doc/pam*/html/index.php pam_console_apply(8)


Let's hope not, but if you find any, please report them via the "Bug Track" link at  


Michael K. Johnson <>