Skip to content


Subversion checkout URL

You can clone with
Download ZIP
Lightweight linux console locking tool
C Groff Makefile
Branch: master

Control physical access to a linux computer by locking all of its virtual terminals / consoles.

physlock is an alternative to vlock, it is equivalent to `vlock -an'. It is written because vlock blocks some linux kernel mechanisms like hibernate and suspend and can therefore only be used with some limitations. physlock is designed to be more lightweight, it does not have a plugin interface and it is not started using a shell script wrapper.


physlock is built using the commands:

$ make
# make install

Please note, that the latter one requires root privileges. By default, physlock is installed using the prefix "/usr/local", so the full path of the executable will be "/usr/local/sbin/physlock".

You can install it into a directory of your choice by changing the second command to:

# make PREFIX="/your/dir" install

Please also note, that the physlock executable will have root ownership and the setuid bit set.

All build-time specific settings are set via preprocessor macros in the file "config.h". Please check and change them, so that they fit your needs.


The behaviour of physlock is completely controlled via command-line arguments, it does not rely on environment variables. It always allows unlocking as root and as a specified user. If no username is given on the command line, then physlock uses the name of the calling user.

The following command-line arguments are supported:

-d       fork and detach, parent returns after everything is set up
         (useful for suspend/hibernate scripts)
-h       print short usage help and exit
-l       only lock console switching
-L       only enable console switching
-u USER  allow the given user to unlock the computer
-v       print version information and exit
Something went wrong with that request. Please try again.