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Using command line commands for group administration in AIX


See also

Redbooks IBM Links Recommended Links Using Smit
mkuser chuser chsh chfn lsuser passwd
chpasswd pwdadm rmuser      
Useful AIX commands smit sudo Tips Humor Etc

Now that you are familiar with the files behind the commands, take a look at the commands themselves. You'll learn how to create a user as well as modify a user after it has been created.

Like user administration, it's important that you know the configuration files behind the commands that modify them.


The /etc/group file contains the basics of a group. For example:



As you can see, the file is colon delimited like the /etc/passwd file, and each entry contains only four fields in the following format (with spaces added before and after the delimiter to ease reading):

Group Name : Password Flag : GID : User(s)

Here's the line-by-line breakdown:


The /etc/security/group file is much like /etc/security/user for users: It contains extended attributes to the specified group:

Parameter Format Description
adms user1, user2, … Comma-delimited list of users with administrative rights to the group.
admin TRUE | FALSE If True, the group has administrative rights to the group.

For more attributes, read the man page for /etc/security/group (man group), or visit

The file is broken down into stanzas like the other configuration files in /etc/security, with the group name as the identifier. A nice feature of this file is that it allows you to set administrator rights to a standard user for a group. The administrators of that group can then modify the group as they see fit by adding members to or removing members from the group. Listing 18 provides an example of what an /etc/security/group looks like. In this example, the group jradmin has admin set to False and standard users pac and xander defined as administrators of the group.

For example:
        admin = true

        admin = false

        admin = true

        admin = true

        admin = false
        adms = pac,xander

A few more commands

You've read enough about the files behind the commands. Now, let's look at the commands themselves. You'll see how to create a group as well as modify it after it has been created.


Creating a group in AIX is simple and straightforward. The same restrictions for creating a user pertain to creating a group:

Both user and group name lengths are handled by the same parameter: v_max_logname. To view or change the value, follow the instructions provided for viewing and changing the user name length in mkuser, earlier in this article.

To create a group, simply execute the mkgroup command with the group name as an argument, as shown in in example:

# mkgroup atctest

# grep atctest /etc/group

# grep -p atctest /etc/security/group
        admin = false

To create an admin group, add the -a switch, as shown in example:

# mkgroup -a atcadmin

# grep atcadmin /etc/group

# grep -p atcadmin /etc/security/group
        admin = true

To create a group and add Xander as the administrator of the group, add the adm section of the /etc/security/group stanza to the command line, as shown in example below:

# mkgroup adms=xander xangroup

# grep xangroup /etc/group

# grep -p xangroup /etc/security/group
        admin = false
        adms = xander

Like mkuser, mkgroup follows the same attributes as chgroup. For a full list of the attributes, read chgroup's man page (man chgroup).


The chgroup command works just like chuser, and its man page contains all the attributes you can change on a group. Listing 22 provides an example of how to change the group's xangroup GID from 203 to 204. Add a few users to the group, as well.

# grep xangroup /etc/group

# chgroup id=204 users=xander,atc,amdc xangroup

# grep xangroup /etc/group


Another way to modify a group's members is with chgrpmem. The chgrpmem command allows you to list, add, and remove users from a group as well as modify the administrators of the group.

For example, the group xangroup has xander and atc as members and xander as an administrator of the group. Remove atc from the group:

# chgrpmem xangroup
        members = xander,atc
        adms = xander

# chgrpmem -m - atc xangroup

# chgrpmem xangroup
        members = xander
        adms = xander

Suppose there was a mistake and user atc was not supposed to be removed. Instead, user atc was supposed to become the administrator of the group, while xander's administrative rights were to be removed. Listing 24 shows the code to make the correction.

# chgrpmem -m + atc xangroup

# chgrpmem -a + atc xangroup

# chgrpmem -a - xander xangroup

# chgrpmem xangroup
        members = xander,atc
        adms = atc


With such a nice command for users as lsuser, shouldn't there be one for groups, as well? There is: lsgroup. To continue with the standard format of commands and their options in AIX, lsgroup follows the same structure as lsuser.

# lsgroup xangroup
xangroup id=204 admin=false users=xander,cormany adms=cormany registry=files

# lsgroup -f xangroup

# lsgroup -c xangroup,atcadmin

# lsgroup -c -a id xangroup,atcadmin


Throughout this article, you've been creating sample groups. Now, it's time to clean up the AIX system you're using. To remove a group from the system, simply execute rmgroup with the group's name as the argument:

# rmgroup atctest

The rmgroup command does not allow you to remove the group until you have moved all users that have the group as their primary group to another group.

Recommended Links

AIX user and group administration by Adam Cormany



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