The user is prompted
If the root account is locked, as is the default on Ubuntu, no password prompt is displayed and sulogin behaves as if the correct password were entered.
sulogin will be connected to the current terminal, or to the optional device that can be specified on the command line (typically /dev/console).
If the -t option is used then the program only waits the given number of seconds for user input.
If the -p option is used then the single-user shell is invoked with a dash as the first character in argv. This causes the shell process to behave as a login shell. The default is not to do this, so that the shell will not read /etc/profile or $HOME/.profile at startup.
After the user exits the single-user shell, or presses control-D at the prompt, the system will (continue to) boot to the default runlevel.
This is very valuable together with the -b option to init. To boot the system into single user mode, with the root file system mounted read/write, using a special "fail safe" shell that is statically linked (this example is valid for the LILO bootprompt)
boot: linux -b rw sushell=/sbin/sash
/etc/shadow (if present)
If they are damaged or nonexistent, sulogin will start a root shell without asking for a password. Only use the -e option if you are sure the console is physically protected against unauthorized access.