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w, who, id and whoami are excluded, because they only give information about users using a tty. Is there a way to extract the name reliably from KDM?

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You write "the logged in user" as if Unix were a single-user system. Are you assuming there is only one display, and no remote access? –  tripleee Jul 9 '13 at 13:23

3 Answers 3

What about the commands users and last.

users

   users - print the user names of users currently logged in to the current host

Makes use of the /var/run/utmp and /var/log/wtmp files.

last

   last, lastb - show listing of last logged in users

Makes use of the /var/log/wtmp log file. Shows historically the last time a user logged in.

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You could use the auth-log for getting this information.

Example for CentOS5: aureport -l another possibility is using the last command.

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up vote 0 down vote accepted

All those command do not track users that don't use a TTY.

The magic command is loginctl (systemd).

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