I want, when a linux user exits from a shell script, that it also logs out from the bash shell. Is this possible?

6 Answers 6


Instead of starting the script normally, exec it instead. This will replace the login shell, so when the script finishes the user will be logged out.


End your script with kill -HUP $PPID

$PPID is the process ID of the parent process.

  • $PPID might fail if the script is run from a subshell, e.g. bash login shell → another bash shell → this script. Also why -9 and not -HUP? Oct 6, 2010 at 13:57
  • kill -9 closes all processes it can without letting them close their file descriptors, freeing their memory, etc... I don't think it's a good idea if the script does any I/O. Oct 6, 2010 at 16:04
  • Yes, you are right. Feeling a little bit destructive today ;)
    – Sven
    Oct 6, 2010 at 16:27

Depending on what you are trying to accomplish, you could use the script name instead of the shell in /etc/passwd.

The last entry in /etc/passwd (everything after the last colon) is the shell that is run when the user logs on. By changing this to the name of your script, when the script ends, then by definition, so does the shell.

** Be very careful editing /etc/passwd however, as you could lock yourself out of your machine. Apparently you can do this with

usermod --shell <script name> <user name>

which would be the safer way to make this change.


Another approach may be to source the script instead of calling it directly, an exit statement in the script will then close the user shell:

$ cat exit_me.sh


$ source exit_me.sh
# or
$ . exit_me.sh

More info about source here.


with kill ?

$ kill -HUP `ps -ef |grep $USER|grep bash|awk {'print $2'}`

Edit: as said in the comments, it works better with PPID

$ kill -HUP $PPID
  • 1
    There is a variable for that: $PPID
    – Sven
    Oct 6, 2010 at 13:39
  • Yes, definitely use $PPID. Using ps in that way will log the user out of other sessions, too, which may be very undesirable. Oct 6, 2010 at 14:12

It is possible to do this if you include an EXIT at the end of your script, which tells the bash shell to terminate.

  • 1
    the exit will exit the current bash script, and not the bash of the user running it Oct 6, 2010 at 13:30
  • no exit will terminate only that script not the bash shell
    – user56285
    Oct 6, 2010 at 13:37
  • This will just exit the sub-shell where the script is executed and doesn't solve the question.
    – Sven
    Oct 6, 2010 at 13:38

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