users 0.10.0

Library for accessing Unix users and groups

This is a library for getting information on Unix users and groups. It supports getting the system users, and creating your own mock tables.

In Unix, each user has an individual user ID, and each process has an effective user ID that says which user’s permissions it is using. Furthermore, users can be the members of groups, which also have names and IDs. This functionality is exposed in libc, the C standard library, but as an unsafe Rust interface. This wrapper library provides a safe interface, using User and Group types and functions such as get_user_by_uid instead of low-level pointers and strings. It also offers basic caching functionality.

It does not (yet) offer editing functionality; the values returned are read-only.


The function get_current_uid returns a uid_t value representing the user currently running the program, and the get_user_by_uid function scans the users database and returns a User with the user’s information. This function returns None when there is no user for that ID. The uid_t type is re-exported from the libc crate.

A User value has the following accessors:

  • uid: The user’s ID
  • name: The user’s name
  • primary_group: The ID of this user’s primary group

Here is a complete example that prints out the current user’s name:

use users::{get_user_by_uid, get_current_uid};

let user = get_user_by_uid(get_current_uid()).unwrap();
println!("Hello, {}!",;

This code assumes (with unwrap()) that the user hasn’t been deleted after the program has started running. For arbitrary user IDs, this is not a safe assumption: it’s possible to delete a user while it’s running a program, or is the owner of files, or for that user to have never existed. So always check the return values!

There is also a get_current_username function, as it’s such a common operation that it deserves special treatment.


Despite the above warning, the users and groups database rarely changes. While a short program may only need to get user information once, a long-running one may need to re-query the database many times, and a medium-length one may get away with caching the values to save on redundant system calls.

For this reason, this crate offers a caching interface to the database, which offers the same functionality while holding on to every result, caching the information so it can be re-used.

To introduce a cache, create a new UsersCache. It has functions with the same names as the ones from earlier. For example:

use users::{Users, Groups, UsersCache};

let mut cache = UsersCache::new();
let uid = cache.get_current_uid();
let user = cache.get_user_by_uid(uid).unwrap();
println!("Hello again, {}!",;

This cache is only additive: it’s not possible to drop it, or erase selected entries, as when the database may have been modified, it’s best to start entirely afresh. So to accomplish this, just start using a new UsersCache.


Finally, it’s possible to get groups in a similar manner. A Group has the following accessors:

  • gid: The group’s ID
  • name: The group’s name

And again, a complete example:

use users::{Users, Groups, UsersCache};

let mut cache = UsersCache::new();
let group = cache.get_group_by_name("admin").expect("No such group 'admin'!");
println!("The '{}' group has the ID {}",, group.gid());


The logging feature, which is on by default, uses the log crate to record all interactions with the operating system.


You should be prepared for the users and groups tables to be completely broken: IDs shouldn’t be assumed to map to actual users and groups, and usernames and group names aren’t guaranteed to map either!

Use the mock module to create custom tables to test your code for these edge cases.