I have been wanting to read systemd-journal by running/using journalctl -b . Now if I run it as a user I get the following :-

$ journalctl -b
Hint: You are currently not seeing messages from other users and the system
      Users in the 'systemd-journal' group can see all messages. Pass -q to
      turn off this notice.
No journal files were opened due to insufficient permissions.

After this I ran a grep in /etc/group to see if such a group exists.

$ sudo grep systemd-journal /etc/group

then I tried to add the user to that group :-

$ sudo useradd -G systemd-journal shirish
useradd: user 'shirish' already exists

You can see what it says.

I used the id command to find which groups shirish belongs to

$ id shirish
uid=1000(shirish) gid=1000(shirish) groups=1000(shirish),24(cdrom),25(floppy),29(audio),30(dip),44(video),46(plugdev),108(netdev),110(lpadmin),113(scanner),119(bluetooth),131(kvm),132(libvirt)

As can be seen I do not shirish being member of systemd-journal.


You don't use useradd to add a user to a group. You use useradd to create a user, hence the error message. Try:

# usermod -a -G systemd-journal shirish


# gpasswd -a shirish systemd-journal

In either case, you need to log in again to make it take effect. A quick-and-dirty way of doing this in a running shell is:

$ exec su - shirish

The command naming is confusing. You want:

´adduser shirish systemd-journal´

instead of useradd. The adduser command might not be available on all linux flavors, but it is on debian.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.