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Bug#2985: login: "You must exec login from the lowest level shell."

Package: login
Version: 1.0-1

Some of my users have been mentioning seeing this error message:

dave@zenda:~$ telnet valour.pem
Connected to valour.pem.cam.ac.uk.
Escape character is '^]'.

Linux 1.3.98 (valour)

You must exec login from the lowest level shell.


I've had a quick look at the login source to see where this error
message comes from.

It appears to be a test to ensure that login isn't started from a
shell other than by using 'exec'.

Login checks utmp for the line in question to see if it is in use. I
don't know how reliable this is; won't there be a race with init
clearing up dead utmp entries (ie, if init doesn't mark the entry as
DEAD quickly enough, then login can think it's still in use).

This is a transient problem, that usually is repeatable for a few
minutes, then goes away (presumably when that utmp entry in next

I'm filing this as a bug, because I don't think a scrambled utmp
should stop you being able to log in.


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