users 0.4.2

Library for getting information on Unix users and groups

rust-users Build Status

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

View the Rustdoc


Unfortunately, rust-users is not compatible with Rust beta. You'll have to use the nightly. We're waiting on the following two things to settle:


This crate, like all external crates, works very well with Cargo. Add the following to your Cargo.toml:

git = ""

And the users crate should be available to you.


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 objects instead of low-level pointers and strings. It also offers basic caching functionality.

It does not (yet) offer editing functionality; the objects 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 object with the user's information. This function returns None when there is no user for that ID.

A User object has the following public fields:

  • 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 from user_to_uid!

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 OSUsers object and call the same methods on it. For example:

use users::{Users, OSUsers};
let mut cache = OSUsers::empty_cache();
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 OSUsers object.


Finally, it's possible to get groups in a similar manner. A Group object has the following public fields:

  • gid: The group's ID
  • name: The group's name
  • members: Vector of names of the users that belong to this group

And again, a complete example:

use users::{Users, OSUsers};
let mut cache = OSUsers::empty_cache();
let group = cache.get_group_by_name("admin".to_string()).expect("No such group 'admin'!");
println!("The '{}' group has the ID {}",, group.gid);
for member in group.members.into_iter() {
    println!("{} is a member of the group", member);


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 mocking module to create custom tables to test your code for these edge cases.