CHPASS(1) BSD Reference Manual CHPASS(1)
chpass, chfn, chsh - add or change user database information
chpass [-ly] [-a list] [-s newshell] [user]
chpass allows editing of the user database information associated with user, or, by default, the current user. The information is formatted and supplied to an editor for changes. Only the information that the user is allowed to change is displayed. If YP is enabled change requests are first tried in the local database, and then in the YP database, if there was no entry to change locally. chfn and chsh are synonyms for chpass. The options are as follows: -a list The superuser is allowed to directly supply a user database en- try, in the format specified by passwd(5), as an argument. This argument must be a colon (':') separated list of all the user da- tabase fields, although they may be empty. This operation is not supported in YP environments; only local additions can be per- formed which requires the -l flag to be specified. -l In environments where YP is enabled, always alter local informa- tion as opposed to information in YP. -s newshell Attempts to change the user's shell to newshell. -y In environments where YP is enabled, always change the YP entry, even if this is a modification request and there is a local entry for the specified user. Possible display items are as follows: Login: user's login name Password: user's encrypted password Uid: user's login Gid: user's login group Change: password change time Expire: account expiration time Class: user's general classification Home Directory: user's home directory Shell: user's login shell Full Name: user's real name Office Location: user's office location Office Phone: user's office phone Home Phone: user's home phone The login field is the user name used to access the computer account. The password field contains the encrypted form of the user's password. The uid field is the number associated with the login field. Both of these fields should be unique across the system (and often across a group of systems) as they control 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 group field is the group that the user will be placed in at login. Since BSD supports multiple groups (see groups(1)), this field currently has little special meaning. This field may be filled in with either a number or a group name (see group(5)). The change field is the date by which the password must be changed. The expire field is the date on which the account expires. Both the change and expire fields should be entered in the form ``month day year'' where month is the month name (the first three characters are sufficient), day is the day of the month, and year is the year. The class field specifies a key in the login.conf(5) database of login class attributes. If empty, the "default" record is used. The user's home directory is the full UNIX path name where the user will be placed at login. The shell field is the command interpreter the user prefers. If the shell field is empty, the Bourne shell (/bin/sh) is assumed. When altering a login shell, and not the superuser, the user may not change from a non- standard shell or to a non-standard shell. Non-standard is defined as a shell not found in /etc/shells. The last four fields are for storing the user's full name, office location, and work and home telephone numbers. Once the information has been verified, chpass uses pwd_mkdb(8) to update the user database.
The vi(1) editor will be used unless the environment variable EDITOR is set to an alternate editor. When the editor terminates, the information is re-read and used to update the user database itself. Only the user, or the superuser, may edit the information associated with the user.
/etc/master.passwd user database /etc/passwd a Version 7 format password file /etc/ptmp lock file for the passwd database /etc/shells list of approved shells /var/tmp/pw.XXXXXXXXXX temporary copy of the user passwd information
Attempting lock password file, please wait or press ^C to abort The password file is currently locked by another process; chpass will keep trying to lock the password file until it succeeds or the user hits the interrupt character (control-C by default). If chpass is interrupted while trying to gain the lock any changes made will be lost. If the process holding the lock was prematurely terminated the lock file may be stale and chpass will wait forever trying to lock the password file. To determine whether a live process is actually holding the lock, the admin may run the following: $ fstat /etc/ptmp If no process is listed, it is safe to remove the /etc/ptmp file to clear the error.
finger(1), login(1), passwd(1), getusershell(3), login.conf(5), passwd(5), pwd_mkdb(8), vipw(8) Robert Morris and Ken Thompson, UNIX Password Security.
The chpass command appeared in 4.3BSD-Reno.
User information should (and eventually will) be stored elsewhere. MirOS BSD #10-current December 30, 1993 2
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