idletime in login.conf

Dan Nelson dnelson at
Mon Oct 31 15:09:37 UTC 2011

In the last episode (Oct 31), Damien Fleuriot said:
> On 30 Oct 2011, at 16:45, Modulok <modulok at> wrote:
> > List,
> > 
> > Goal: Automatically logoff users that are idle after 'x' minutes.
> > 
> > Attempt: I added this to /etc/login.conf to the default login class:
> > 
> >    :idletime=10m:
> > 
> > I then rebuilt the database:
> > 
> >    cap_mkdb /etc/login.conf
> > 
> > Problem: It doesn't work. The 'w' command shows users idle for 20
> > minutes or more.  I'm missing something.  Other than an autologout shell
> > variables, how do I force idle users to logout?
> Are these users that logged in after or before your change ?
> Obviously the idle timeout only applies to users who logged in after you
> adjusted the value and rebuilt the db.

Actually, the idle timeout is not implemented in the base system.  It's
there in case someone writes a 3rd-party module that does idle detection. 
See the login.conf manpage:

     The following capabilities are reserved for the purposes indicated and
     may be supported by third-party software.  They are not implemented in
     the base system.
     idletime          time                Maximum idle time before logout.

	Dan Nelson
	dnelson at

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