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8. Users and Groups > The Password File: /etc/passwd

The Password File: /etc/passwd

The system password file, /etc/passwd, contains one line for each user account on the system. Each line is composed of seven fields separated by colons (:), as in the following example:

mtk:x:1000:100:Michael Kerrisk:/home/mtk:/bin/bash

In order, these fields are as follows:

  • Login name: This is the unique name that the user must enter in order to log in. Often, this is also called the username. We can also consider the login name to be the human-readable (symbolic) identifier corresponding to the numeric user identifier (described in a moment). Programs such as ls(1) display this name, rather than the numeric user ID associated with the file, when asked to show the ownership of a file (as in ls -l).


  

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