MirBSD manpage: master.passwd(5), passwd(5)

PASSWD(5)                    BSD Reference Manual                    PASSWD(5)


     passwd, master.passwd - format of the password file


     The master.passwd file, readable only by root, consists of newline-
     separated records, one per user, containing ten colon (':') separated
     fields. These fields are as follows:

           name      User's login name.
           password  User's encrypted password.
           uid       User's login user ID.
           gid       User's login group ID.
           class     User's general classification (see login.conf(5)).
           change    Password change time.
           expire    Account expiration time.
           gecos     General information about the user.
           home_dir  User's home directory.
           shell     User's login shell.

     The publicly-readable passwd file is generated from the master.passwd
     file by pwd_mkdb(8) and has the class, change, and expire fields removed.
     Also, the encrypted password field is replaced by an asterisk ('*').

     The password files should never be edited by hand; vipw(8) should be used

     The name field is the login used to access the computer account, and the
     uid field is the number associated with it. They should both be unique
     across the system (and often across a group of systems) since they con-
     trol file access.

     While it is possible to have multiple entries with identical login names
     and/or identical user IDs, it is usually a mistake to do so. Routines
     that manipulate these files will often return only one of the multiple
     entries, and that one by random selection.

     The login name may be up to 31 characters long. For compatibility with
     legacy software, a login name should start with a letter and consist
     solely of letters, numbers, dashes and underscores. The login name must
     never begin with a hyphen ('-'); also, it is strongly suggested that nei-
     ther uppercase characters nor dots ('.') be part of the name, as this
     tends to confuse mailers. No field may contain a colon as this has been
     used historically to separate the fields in the user database.

     The password field is the encrypted form of the password. If the password
     field is empty, no password will be required to gain access to the
     machine. This is almost invariably a mistake. By convention, accounts
     that are not intended to be logged in to (e.g. bin, daemon, sshd) have a
     star ('*') in the password field. Note that there is nothing special
     about '*', it is just one of many strings that is not a valid encrypted
     password (see crypt(3)). Because master.passwd contains the encrypted
     user passwords, it should not be readable by anyone without appropriate

     Which type of cipher is used to encrypt the password information depends
     on the configuration in login.conf(5). It can be different for local

     The group field is the group that the user will be placed in upon login.
     Since this system supports multiple groups (see groups(1)) this field
     currently has little special meaning.

     The class field is used by login(1) and other programs to determine which
     entry in the login.conf(5) database should be used.

     The change field is the number in seconds, GMT, from the epoch, until the
     password for the account must be changed. This field may be left empty to
     turn off the password aging feature.

     The expire field is the number in seconds, GMT, from the epoch, until the
     account expires. This field may be left empty to turn off the account ag-
     ing feature.

     The gecos field normally contains comma (',') separated subfields as fol-

           name    User's full name.
           office  User's office location.
           wphone  User's work phone number.
           hphone  User's home phone number.

     The full name may contain an ampersand ('&'), which will be replaced by
     the capitalized login name when the gecos field is displayed or used by
     various programs such as finger(1), sendmail(8), etc.

     The office and phone number subfields, if they exist, are used by the
     finger(1) program and possibly by other applications.

     The user's home directory is the full UNIX path name where the user will
     be placed on login.

     The shell field is the command interpreter the user prefers. If there is
     nothing in the shell field, the Bourne shell (/bin/sh) is assumed. Ac-
     counts that are not intended to be logged in to usually have a shell of


     chpass(1), login(1), passwd(1), crypt(3), getpwent(3), login.conf(5),
     netgroup(5), adduser(8), pwd_mkdb(8), vipw(8), yp(8)

     Managing NFS and NIS (O'Reilly & Associates)


     The password file format has changed since 4.3BSD. The following awk(1)
     script can be used to convert your old-style password file into a new
     style password file. The additional fields "class", "change", and
     "expire" are added, but are turned off by default. To set change and
     expire use the current day in seconds from the epoch plus the number of
     seconds of offset desired.

           BEGIN { FS = ":"}
           { print $1 ":" $2 ":" $3 ":" $4 "::0:0:" $5 ":" $6 ":" $7 }


     A passwd file format appeared in Version 3 AT&T UNIX.


     User information should (and eventually will) be stored elsewhere.

MirBSD #10-current              July 18, 1995                                1

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