I had earlier reported problems with shadow-960129 on my system where it
was impossible to log in on the system console because of "missing utmp
entries"... I have discovered a resolution to my problem.
I've filled up my var partition :-) with symlinks from /var/adm/utmp and
/var/log/utmp (and /etc/utmp) pointing to /var/run/utmp in an attempt to
satisfy all of the various levels of software packages I run that can't
agree on where this file is located.
I discovered, by accident, that /etc/rc.d/rc.S distributed in older
versions of Slackware (maybe newer, too, I don't know) deletes and
recreates /var/adm/utmp, thus destroying my link. Apparently, whatever
sets up utmp information for login was stuffing it in /var/adm/utmp and
then the shadow login was looking in /var/run/utmp and not finding it.
I never would have found this except that this "maintenance" in rc.S is
attempted *BEFORE* non-boot partitions are mounted, and I started getting
these error messages when I split /var off to a separate partition...
EDS / ESC - Detroit 313-556-6011 [8/346]