For security reasons it is sometimes recommended to force logout of a user after certain minutes of inactivity. Here it is how to do it:

Linux bash shell allows you to define the TMOUT environment variable. Set TMOUT to automatically log users out after a period of inactivity. The value is defined in seconds. For example,

 export TMOUT=120

 The above command will implement a 2 minute idle time-out for the default /bin/bash shell. You can edit your ~/.bash_profile or /etc/profile file as follows to define a 5 minute idle time out:

 # set a 5 min timeout policy for bash shell


readonly TMOUT

export TMOUT

 Save and close the file. The readonly command is used to make variables and functions readonly i.e. you user cannot change the value of variable called TMOUT.

How Do I Disable TMOUT?

To disable auto-logout, just set the TMOUT to zero or unset it as follows:
$ export TMOUT=0
$ unset TMOUT
Please note that readonly variable can only be disabled by root in /etc/profile or ~/.bash_profile

Posted in: Linux.
Last Modified: October 25, 2013

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