pam_exec − PAM module which calls an external command

SYNOPSIS [debug] [expose_authtok] [seteuid] [quiet] [log=file] command [...]


pam_exec is a PAM module that can be used to run an external command.

The child´s environment is set to the current PAM environment list, as returned by pam_getenvlist(3) In addition, the following PAM items are exported as environment variables: PAM_RHOST, PAM_RUSER, PAM_SERVICE, PAM_TTY, PAM_USER and PAM_TYPE, which contains one of the module types: account, auth, password, open_session and close_session.

Commands called by pam_exec need to be aware of that the user can have controll over the environment.


Print debug information.


During authentication the calling command can read the password from stdin(3).


The output of the command is appended to file


Per default will echo the exit status of the external command if it fails. Specifying this option will suppress the message.


Per default will execute the external command with the real user ID of the calling process. Specifying this option means the command is run with the effective user ID.

All module types (auth, account, password and session) are provided.


The external command was run successfully.


No argument or a wrong number of arguments were given.


A system error occurred or the command to execute failed.


pam_setcred was called, which does not execute the command.

Add the following line to /etc/pam.d/passwd to rebuild the NIS database after each local password change:

password optional seteuid /usr/bin/make −C /var/yp

This will execute the command

make −C /var/yp

with effective user ID.

(5), pam.d(5), pam(8)

pam_exec was written by Thorsten Kukuk <>.


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