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Manual page for ADDUSER(8)

adduser - procedure for adding new users


To add an account for a new user, the system administrator (or super-user):


Making an Entry in the Password File

To add an entry for the new login name on a local host, first edit the /etc/passwd file -- inserting a line for the new user. This must be done with the password file locked, for instance, by using vipw.8 and the insertion must be made above the line containing the string:


This line indicates that additional accounts can be found in the NIS service.

To add an entry for the new login name into the NIS service, add an identical line to the file /etc/passwd on the NIS master server, and run make.1 in the directory /var/yp (see ypmake.8 for details) to propagate the change.

The new user is assigned a group and user ID number (GID and UID respectively). UIDs should be unique for each user and consistent across the NFS domain, since they control access to files. GIDs need not be unique. Typically, users working on similar projects will assigned to the same group. The system staff is group 10 for historical reasons, and the super-user is in this group.

An entry for a new user francine would look like this:

francine::235:20:& Featherstonehaugh:/usr/francine:/bin/csh

Fields in each password-file entry are delimited by colons, and have the following meanings:

An entry for a new user francine would look like this:


Fields in each password adjunct file entry are delimited by colons, and have the following meanings:

Making a Home Directory

As shown in the password file entry above, the name of Francine's home directory is to be /usr/francine. This directory must be created using mkdir.1 and Francine must be given ownership of it using chown.8 in order for her profile files to be read and executed, and to have control over access to it by other users:
example# mkdir /usr/francine
example# /usr/etc/chown francine /usr/francine

If running under NFS, the mkdir.1 and chown.8 commands must be performed on the NFS server.

Setting Up Skeletal Profile Files

New users often need assistance in setting up their profile files to initialize the terminal properly, configure their search path, and perform other desired functions at startup. Providing them with skeletal profile files saves time and interruptions for both the new user and the system administrator.

Such files as .profile (if they use /usr/bin/sh as the shell), or .cshrc and .login (if they use /usr/bin/csh as the shell), can include commands that are performed automatically at each login, or whenever a shell is invoked, such as tset.1 The ownership of these files must be changed to belong to the new user, either by running su.1v before making copies, or by using chown.8


password file
group file


csh.1 ls.1v make.1 mkdir.1 passwd.1 sh.1 su.1v tset.1 audit.2 audit_control.5 audit_data.5 passwd.adjunct.5 group.5 passwd.5 passwd.adjunct.5 audit.8 auditd.8 chown.8 vipw.8 ypmake.8

[a manual with the abbreviation ADMIN]


The Network Information Service (NIS) was formerly known as Sun Yellow Pages (YP). The functionality of the two remains the same; only the name has changed.

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Created by unroff & hp-tools. © by Hans-Peter Bischof. All Rights Reserved (1997).

Last modified 21/April/97