The login program is used to establish a new session with the system. It is normally invoked automatically by responding to the login: prompt on the user's terminal. login may be special to the shell and may not be invoked as a sub-process. When called from a shell, login should be executed as exec login which will cause the user to exit from the current shell (and thus will prevent the new logged in user to return to the session of the caller). Attempting to execute login from any shell but the login shell will produce an error message.
The user is then prompted for a password, where appropriate. Echoing is disabled to prevent revealing the password. Only a small number of password failures are permitted before login exits and the communications link is severed.
If password aging has been enabled for your account, you may be prompted for a new password before proceeding. You will be forced to provide your old password and the new password before continuing. Please refer to passwd(1) for more information.
Your user and group ID will be set according to their values in the /etc/passwd file. The value for $HOME, $SHELL, $PATH, $LOGNAME, and $MAIL are set according to the appropriate fields in the password entry. Ulimit, umask and nice values may also be set according to entries in the GECOS field.
On some installations, the environmental variable $TERM will be initialized to the terminal type on your tty line, as specified in /etc/ttytype.
An initialization script for your command interpreter may also be executed. Please see the appropriate manual section for more information on this function.
A subsystem login is indicated by the presence of a "*" as the first character of the login shell. The given home directory will be used as the root of a new file system which the user is actually logged into.
The login program is NOT responsible for removing users from the utmp file. It is the responsibility of getty(8) and init(8) to clean up apparent ownership of a terminal session. If you use login from the shell prompt without exec, the user you use will continue to appear to be logged in even after you log out of the "subsession".