agetty and login

Richard A Downing richard.a.downing at
Wed Jul 11 02:17:00 PDT 2001

Thanks for explanation.  So in fact it doesn't matter a hoot if the file is
owned by root whether the write bit is set or not, so far as root's access
is concerned.
I've only just started into the X journey, my monitor is an ancient (1989)
fixed sync VGA model and the graphics logic is on-motherboard (ATI
I think xdm is logging to utmp, at least 'who' shows the ttypn's as it
should. For instance starting an xterm& and running login for another user
in it, results in another ttyp and another record in utmp.

Richard A Downing FBCS
in a private capacity.

This release corrects many bugs and introduces the new ones.

Matthias Benkmann

Unless its immutable or a read-only fs, root can write to it. Root is a
notorious rule-breaker. And programs that modify utmp are usually started
by root oder suid root. At least text mode programs. I don't know about
xdm, xterm,...
Do you have proper logging for X sessions.


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