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pkttyagent - Textual authentication helper


pkttyagent [--version] [--help]

pkttyagent [--process { pid | pid,pid-start-time } | --system-bus-name busname] [--notify-fd fd] [--fallback]


pkttyagent is used to start a textual authentication agent for the subject specified by either --process or --system-bus-name. If neither of these options are given, the parent process is used.

To get notified when the authentication agent has been registered either listen to the Changed D-Bus signal or use --notify-fd to pass the number of a file descriptor that has been passed to the program. This file descriptor will then be closed when the authentication agent has been successfully registered.

If --fallback is used, the textual authentication agent will not replace an existing authentication agent.


If the authentication agent could not be registered, pkttyagent exits with an exit code of 127. Diagnostic messages are printed on standard error.

If one or more of the options passed are malformed, pkttyagent exits with an exit code of 126. If stdin is a tty, then this manual page is also shown.

If the authentication agent was successfully registered, pkttyagent will keep running, interacting with the user as needed. When its services are no longer needed, the process can be killed.


Since process identifiers can be recycled, the caller should always use pid,pid-start-time when using the --process option. The value of pid-start-time can be determined by consulting e.g. the proc(5) file system depending on the operating system. If only pid is passed to the --process option, then pkttyagent will look up the start time itself but note that this may be racy.


Written by David Zeuthen <> with a lot of help from many others.


Please send bug reports to either the distribution or the polkit-devel mailing list, see the link on how to subscribe.


polkit(8), polkitd(8), pkaction(1), pkcheck(1), pkexec(1)

May 2009 polkit