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NAME    [Toc]    [Back]

     chpass, chfn, chsh - add or change user database information

SYNOPSIS    [Toc]    [Back]

     chpass [-ly] [-a list] [-s newshell] [user]

DESCRIPTION    [Toc]    [Back]

     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

     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

     chfn and chsh are synonyms for chpass.

     The options are as follows:

     -a list
             The superuser is allowed to directly supply  a  user
database entry,
 in the format specified by passwd(5), as an argument.  This
             argument must be a colon (`:') separated list of all
the user
             database  fields,  although they may be empty.  This
operation is
             not supported in YP environments; only  local  additions can be
             performed  which  requires  the -l flag to be specified.

     -l      In environments where YP is  enabled,  always  alter
local information
 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

     The password field contains the encrypted form of the user's

     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.
     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

     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

     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,
     location, and work and home telephone numbers.

     Once   the   information  has  been  verified,  chpass  uses
pwd_mkdb(8) to update
     the user database.

ENVIRONMENT    [Toc]    [Back]

     The vi(1) editor will be used unless the  environment  variable EDITOR is
     set to an alternate editor.  When the editor terminates, the
     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.

FILES    [Toc]    [Back]

     /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

DIAGNOSTICS    [Toc]    [Back]

     Attempting  lock  password  file, please wait or press ^C to

     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
     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.

SEE ALSO    [Toc]    [Back]

     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.

HISTORY    [Toc]    [Back]

     The chpass command appeared in 4.3BSD-Reno.

BUGS    [Toc]    [Back]

     User  information  should  (and  eventually  will) be stored

OpenBSD     3.6                        December     30,      1993
[ Back ]
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