logname - Linux


The logname command in Linux prints the name of the user who is currently logged into the terminal. This simple yet powerful tool is essential for scripting and monitoring in multi-user environments, providing a straightforward method to ascertain the owner of the current login session. It is particularly useful in scripts where user-specific operations are handled.


The usage of logname is fairly straightforward with no essential arguments:

logname [OPTION]


logname typically does not support many options, and it generally runs without any options. However, understanding the universal options can be beneficial:

  • --help: Display a help message and exit.
  • --version: Output version information and exit.


Here are some common scenarios for using logname:

  1. Basic Usage:
    Simply retrieve the logname:

  2. Scripting Usage:
    Use logname in a script to check the user executing the script:

    if [ $(logname) = "specific_user" ]; then
        echo "Authorized user is running the script."
        echo "Unauthorized user."

Common Issues

  • “logname: no login name” Error: This error can occur if the user runs logname in a context where no login name is associated, such as in certain cron jobs or when a script is run by systemd. To work around this, ensure logname is used in a proper login session or substitute with whoami if appropriate.


logname can be combined with other commands to perform more complex tasks:

  1. Logging:
    Append user logins to a file for monitoring:

    echo "$(date): $(logname) logged in." >> /var/log/userlogins.log
  2. Conditional Execution in Scripts:
    Perform actions based on the logged-in user:

    [ "$(logname)" = "admin" ] && sudo apt update
  • whoami: Displays the username of the current user, differing from logname which shows the original user who logged in.
  • users: Shows the list of currently logged in users on the system.
  • who: Provides detailed information about all currently logged in users.

For more information, consulting the man page with man logname can provide additional details and options available for your specific distribution.