Linux - /etc/passwd (public user information)


/etc/passwd is the text file that contains public user account information

The name is a little bit misleading because the password is no more present (replaced with a X) as this file is used by many application to lookup user information such as file ownerships with ls

The passwords and other sensitive information are know stored in the shadow file.

It's used by the the PAM module. See:


Format of the file is:

  • User (name normally all lower case)
  • Password (only contains the letter 'x' as the password has moved to the shadow file)
  • User ID (a unique number of each user)
  • Primary Group ID
  • Comment (Normally the person's full name)
  • Home directory (normally /home/<user name>
  • Default shell (normally /bin/bash)

Each field is separated by a colon.

cat /etc/passwd
gerardnico:x:500:500:Nicolas GERARD:/home/gerardnico:/bin/bash

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