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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.
The first command to know is
the rest of the commands are useless. You use this command to create the
AIX user and set its initial values. There are a few simple rules to remember
when creating a user:
To verify the setting in AIX 5.3 and later, you can extract the value
# getconf LOGIN_NAME_MAX 9or
# lsattr -El sys0 SW_dist_intr false Enable SW distribution of interrupts True autorestart true Automatically REBOOT OS after a crash True boottype disk N/A False capacity_inc 1.00 Processor capacity increment False capped true Partition is capped False conslogin enable System Console Login False cpuguard enable CPU Guard True dedicated true Partition is dedicated False enhanced_RBAC true Enhanced RBAC Mode True ent_capacity 1.00 Entitled processor capacity False frequency 2656000000 System Bus Frequency False fullcore true Enable full CORE dump True fwversion IBM,EL340_075 Firmware version and revision levels False id_to_partition 0X80000CE988400001 Partition ID False id_to_system 0X80000CE988400000 System ID False iostat false Continuously maintain DISK I/O history True keylock normal State of system keylock at boot time False log_pg_dealloc true Log predictive memory page deallocation events True max_capacity 1.00 Maximum potential processor capacity False max_logname 9 Maximum login name length at boot time True maxbuf 20 Maximum number of pages in block I/O BUFFER CACHE True maxmbuf 0 Maximum Kbytes of real memory allowed for MBUFS True maxpout 0 HIGH water mark for pending write I/Os per file True maxuproc 800 Maximum number of PROCESSES allowed per user True min_capacity 1.00 Minimum potential processor capacity False minpout 0 LOW water mark for pending write I/Os per file True modelname IBM,8203-E4A Machine name False ncargs 256 ARG/ENV list size in 4K byte blocks True nfs4_acl_compat secure NFS4 ACL Compatibility Mode True pre430core false Use pre-430 style CORE dump True pre520tune disable Pre-520 tuning compatibility mode True realmem 3784704 Amount of usable physical memory in Kbytes False rtasversion 1 Open Firmware RTAS version False sed_config select Stack Execution Disable (SED) Mode True systemid IBM,021082744 Hardware system identifier False variable_weight 0 Variable processor capacity weight False
To change the value, simply adjust the
to the maximum number of characters desired plus one to accommodate the
terminating character. For example, if you want to have user names that
are 128 characters long, you would adjust the
parameter to 129:
# chdev -l sys0 -a max_logname=129 sys0 changed
Please note that this change will not go into effect until you have rebooted the operating system. Once the server has been rebooted, you can verify that the change has taken effect:
# getconf LOGIN_NAME_MAX 128
Keep in mind, however, that if your environment includes IBM RS/6000® servers prior to AIX version 5.3 or operating systems that cannot handle user names longer than eight characters and you rely on NIS or other authentication measures, it would be wise to continue with the eight-character user names.
To create a user with default settings and allocate the next available
UID, simply execute
mkuser plus the user name as the root user:
# mkuser xander # finger xander Login name: xander Directory: /home/xander Shell: /usr/bin/ksh No Plan.
By adding some values found in the
chuser man page (
chuser), you can include the user's GECOS information and change
his or her core
ulimit to 524,288, as in example below:
# mkuser core=524288 gecos="Xander Cormany,317.555.1234" xander # finger xander Login name: xander In real life: Xander Cormany Site Info: 317.555.1234 Directory: /home/xander Shell: /usr/bin/ksh No Plan. # su - xander "-c ulimit -a" time(seconds) unlimited file(blocks) unlimited data(kbytes) unlimited stack(kbytes) 4194304 memory(kbytes) unlimited coredump(blocks) 524288 nofiles(descriptors) unlimited threads(per process) unlimited processes(per user) unlimitedIt's worth mentioning that the GECOS, like any other field in /etc/passwd, should not include a colon (
:) in the value. By trying to add a colon, the fields will be adjusted, and all expected values would shift to the right. For instance, if the user tried to have Xander:Cormany in the GECOS field in /etc/passwd, Xander would actually be in the correct field, while Cormany would be the value of the field to the right (that is, the home directory). Also, the GECOS field cannot end with
Most administrators do not really use the command line like this, but
it is important to understand what utilities like SMIT (
man smitty) are doing behind the scenes. If you would rather
continue through SMIT, the process is simple. Here's an example of creating
the same user with the same attributes through SMIT. By entering
directly into the user creation screen, you go in using the fastpath
# smitty mkuserWhen you are finished filling out the user name, GECOS field, and core
ulimit, click Enter to create the user. When SMIT returns that the command finished successfully, click F10 or Esc + 0 to exit the program. You can verify the user using the code:
# finger xander Login name: xander In real life: Xander Cormany Site Info: 317.555.1234 Directory: /home/xander Shell: /usr/bin/ksh No Plan. # su - xander "-c ulimit -a" time(seconds) unlimited file(blocks) unlimited data(kbytes) unlimited stack(kbytes) 4194304 memory(kbytes) unlimited coredump(blocks) 524288 nofiles(descriptors) unlimited threads(per process) unlimited processes(per user) unlimited
The hard part is done now. But wait: Xander's manager, Ann, just came
by and informed you that Xander's core
ulimit should have been
1,048,576 (someone forgot to multiply by 2). No problem: Just change the
chuser command works very much like
in syntax and uses the identical attributes. An example of the
# chuser core=1048576 xander # su - xander "-c ulimit -a" time(seconds) unlimited file(blocks) unlimited data(kbytes) unlimited stack(kbytes) 4194304 memory(kbytes) unlimited coredump(blocks) 1048576 nofiles(descriptors) unlimited threads(per process) unlimited processes(per user) unlimitedAs always, IBM has made these commands easily accessible in SMIT using fastpaths. Logically,
smitty chusertakes you directly to the user modification screen.
There are times when you want to change your shell. The default shell
in AIX is the Korn shell, or ksh. To change the shell, execute
with the user's name, and then select the desired shell:
# finger xander Login name: xander In real life: Xander Cormany Site Info: 317.555.1234 Directory: /home/xander Shell: /usr/bin/ksh No Plan. # chsh xander Current available shells: /bin/sh /bin/bsh /bin/csh /bin/ksh /bin/tsh /bin/ksh93 /usr/bin/sh /usr/bin/bsh /usr/bin/csh /usr/bin/ksh /usr/bin/tsh /usr/bin/ksh93 /usr/bin/rksh /usr/bin/rksh93 /usr/sbin/uucp/uucico /usr/sbin/sliplogin /usr/sbin/snappd xander's current login shell: /usr/bin/ksh Change (yes) or (no)? > yes To?>/usr/bin/csh # finger xander Login name: xander In real life: Xander Cormany Site Info: 317.555.1234 Directory: /home/xander Shell: /usr/bin/csh No Plan.
The administrator who created Xander's AIX user introduced a typo into
his name in the GECOS information. To correct the mistake, you use the
chfn command. This command works much like
where the command displays the current value, asks the user whether he or
she wants to change it, and then changes the value to what was entered.
# finger xander Login name: xander In real life: Zander Cormany Site Info: 317.555.1234 Directory: /home/xander Shell: /usr/bin/ksh No Plan. # chfn xander xander's current gecos: "Zander Cormany,317.555.1234" Change (yes) or (no)? > yes To?>Xander Cormany,317.555.1234 # finger xander Login name: xander In real life: Xander Cormany Site Info: 317.555.1234 Directory: /home/xander Shell: /usr/bin/ksh No Plan.
Correcting the GECOS information may sound trivial, but it is helpful
to the other administrators and users on the system. For example, if you're
trying to find Xander's account but can't remember his user name, you could
search for it through his GECOS information. Searching for his last name,
which was correctly entered into the GECOS field, would quickly show me
his user name. The
finger command will search for all instances
of the string entered in /etc/passwd's user name and real name in the first
field of the GECOS information:
# finger cormany Login name: atc In real life: Adam Cormany Directory: /home/cormany Shell: /bin/ksh No Plan. Login name: xander In real life: Xander Cormany Site Info: 317.555.1234 Directory: /home/xander Shell: /usr/bin/ksh No Plan.
Gathering all the information for a user from the various user files
may seem cumbersome. Fortunately, AIX provides a command to gather the data
in one fell swoop. The
lsuser command returns all the attributes
used on the user from the various administration files, which can be very
helpful if you are comparing users, wanting to generate a complete listing
of all users for backup purposes, or are troubleshooting an issue with an
To view a user's attributes, you can use the
which displays everything in a stanza structure:
# lsuser -f xander xander: id=214 pgrp=staff groups=staff home=/home/xander shell=/usr/bin/ksh gecos=Xander Cormany,317.555.1234 login=true su=true rlogin=true daemon=true admin=false sugroups=ALL admgroups= tpath=nosak ttys=ALL expires=0 auth1=SYSTEM auth2=NONE umask=22 registry=files SYSTEM=compat logintimes= loginretries=0 pwdwarntime=0 account_locked=false minage=0 maxage=0 maxexpired=-1 minalpha=0 minother=0 mindiff=0 maxrepeats=8 minlen=0 histexpire=0 histsize=0 pwdchecks= dictionlist= default_roles= fsize=-1 cpu=-1 data=-1 stack=-1 core=1048576 rss=-1 nofiles=-1 roles=
If you are comparing users, simply change the switch from
-c and add the users you want to compare as a comma-delimited
# lsuser -c xander,atc #name:id:pgrp:groups:home:shell:gecos:login:su:rlogin:daemon:admin: sugroups:tpath:ttys:expires:auth1:auth2:umask:registry:SYSTEM:loginretries: pwdwarntime:account_locked:minage:maxage:maxexpired:minalpha:minother: mindiff:maxrepeats:minlen:histexpire:histsize:fsize:cpu:data:stack:core:rss:nofiles xander:214:staff:staff:/home/xander:/usr/bin/ksh:Xander Cormany,317.555.1234: true:true:true:true:false:ALL:nosak:ALL:0:SYSTEM:NONE:22:files:compat:0:0:false: 0:0:-1:0:0:0:8:0:0:0:-1:-1:-1:-1:1048576:-1:-1 #name:id:pgrp:groups:home:shell:gecos:login:su:rlogin:daemon:admin:sugroups: tpath:ttys:expires:auth1:auth2:umask:registry:SYSTEM:loginretries:pwdwarntime: account_locked:minage:maxage:maxexpired:minalpha:minother:mindiff:maxrepeats: minlen:histexpire:histsize:fsize:cpu:data:stack:core:rss:nofiles:time_last_login: time_last_unsuccessful_login:tty_last_login:tty_last_unsuccessful_login:host_last_login: host_last_unsuccessful_login:unsuccessful_login_count cormany:215:staff:staff,support:/home/cormany:/bin/ksh:Adam Cormany:true:true: true:true:false:ALL:nosak:ALL:0:SYSTEM:NONE:22:NIS:compat:0:0:false:0:0: -1:0:0:0:8:0:0:0:-1:-1:-1:-1:-1:-1:-1:1250854405:1250522447:/dev/pts/3:/dev/pts/13: 10.20.30.40:10.20.30.41:0
That is a lot of information to look at and may be a bit overwhelming in its raw form. However, if you import this data into a spreadsheet, it will look much cleaner. Having a delimited format is also helpful when you are using the data in scripts to manage users.
If you are only looking for a few fields—say, the user's shell and home
lsuser command can do the work for you with the
-a switch. Listing 13
provides an example of this command using the fields from the
# lsuser -c -a shell home xander,cormany #name:shell:home xander:/usr/bin/ksh:/home/xander #name:shell:home cormany:/bin/ksh:/home/cormany
Many think the
passwd command only changes a user's password.
passwd does perform this important function, it contains
other features, as well.
The most important function of
passwd is indeed changing
a user's password. By following the rules set forth in the configuration
files /etc/security/user and /etc/security/passwd, a standard user can change
his or her own password or, if logged in as the root user, can change other
users' passwords, for example:
# lsuser -c -a password xander #name:password xander:* # passwd xander Changing password for "xander" xander's New password: Enter the new password again: # lsuser -c -a password xander #name:password xander:!
passwd command can also change a user's GECOS information
chfn or his or her shell/command to execute during the
login process, like
chsh. For example:
# passwd -f xander xander's current gecos: "Xander Cormany,317.555.1234" Change (yes) or (no)? > yes To?>Xander Cormany,317.555.7890 # passwd -s xander Current available shells: /bin/sh /bin/bsh /bin/csh /bin/ksh /bin/tsh /bin/ksh93 /usr/bin/sh /usr/bin/bsh /usr/bin/csh /usr/bin/ksh /usr/bin/tsh /usr/bin/ksh93 /usr/bin/rksh /usr/bin/rksh93 /usr/sbin/uucp/uucico /usr/sbin/sliplogin /usr/sbin/snappd xander's current login shell: /usr/bin/ksh Change (yes) or (no)? > yes To?>/usr/bin/bsh # finger xander Login name: xander In real life: Xander Cormany Site Info: 317.555.7890 Directory: /home/xander Shell: /usr/bin/bsh No Plan.
pwdadm command can change passwords in AIX. In addition,
pwdadm can display (excluding encrypted passwords) or update
a user's flags in /etc/security/passwd. Continuing with Xander's account
as a guinea pig, First change his password, and then view his current password
attributes. Because his password was just changed, the
flag will be set. Change that flag to
ADMIN, and restrict the
account so that only administrators can update the password going forward.
# pwdadm xander Changing password for "xander" xander's New password: Enter the new password again: # pwdadm -q xander xander: lastupdate = 1250858719 flags = ADMCHG # pwdadm -f ADMIN xander # pwdadm -q xander xander: lastupdate = 1250858719 flags = ADMIN
The time has come to remove a user from the system; Xander's account
must be deleted. To do so, you need
To remove a user, simply execute
rmuser with the user's
account name as the argument. Doing so with no switches removes the user
from the system, but the user's password information will be retained in
the /etc/security/passwd file:
# rmuser xander
To fully remove the user's password information, use the
# rmuser –p xander
rmuser does not remove the user's home directory.
If a user has important data in his or her home directory that should be
kept, it is up to you to remove the home directories when you deem it safe.
You're familiar with a few user modification commands; now, let's talk about groups. 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:
system:!:0:root,pconsole,esaadmin staff:!:1:ipsec,esaadmin,sshd,xander bin:!:2:root,bin sys:!:3:root,bin,sys adm:!:4:bin,adm uucp:!:5:uucp,nuucp mail:!:6: security:!:7:root cron:!:8:root printq:!:9:lp audit:!:10:root ecs:!:28: nobody:!:4294967294:nobody,lpd perf:!:20: shutdown:!:21: lp:!:11:root,lp invscout:!:12:invscout snapp:!:13:snapp ipsec:!:200: pconsole:!:14:pconsole sshd:!:201:sshd
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:
Note: This field is comma delimited.
The /etc/security/group file is much like /etc/security/user for users: It contains extended attributes to the specified group:
||user1, user2, …||Comma-delimited list of users with administrative rights to the group.|
||TRUE | FALSE||If True, the group has administrative rights to the group.|
For more attributes, read the man page for /etc/security/group (
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
admin set to False and standard users pac and xander defined
as administrators of the group.
system: admin = true staff: admin = false bin: admin = true sys: admin = true jradmin: admin = false adms = pac,xander
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 atctest:!:202: # grep -p atctest /etc/security/group atctest: admin = false
To create an admin group, add the
-a switch, as shown in
# mkgroup -a atcadmin # grep atcadmin /etc/group atcadmin:!:15: # grep -p atcadmin /etc/security/group atcadmin: admin = true
To create a group and add Xander as the administrator of the group, add
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 xangroup:!:203: # grep -p xangroup /etc/security/group xangroup: admin = false adms = xander
mkgroup follows the same attributes
chgroup. For a full list of the attributes, read
man page (
chgroup command works just like
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 xangroup:!:203: # chgroup id=204 users=xander,atc,amdc xangroup # grep xangroup /etc/group xangroup:!:204:xander,atc,amdc
Another way to modify a group's members is with
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 xangroup: members = xander,atc adms = xander # chgrpmem -m - atc xangroup # chgrpmem xangroup 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 xangroup: members = xander,atc adms = atc
With such a nice command for users as
there be one for groups, as well? There is:
lsgroup. To continue
with the standard format of commands and their options in AIX,
follows the same structure as
# lsgroup xangroup xangroup id=204 admin=false users=xander,cormany adms=cormany registry=files # lsgroup -f xangroup xangroup: id=204 admin=false users=xander,cormany adms=cormany registry=files # lsgroup -c xangroup,atcadmin #name:id:admin:users:adms:registry xangroup:204:false:xander,cormany:cormany:files #name:id:admin:registry atcadmin:15:true:files # lsgroup -c -a id xangroup,atcadmin #name:id xangroup:204 #name:id atcadmin:15
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
# rmgroup atctest
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.
AIX user and group administration by Adam Cormany
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