[Pkg-shadow-devel] Bug#647308: Bug#647308: passwd: groupmod modifies users, not just groups

Marc Lehmann schmorp at schmorp.de
Tue Nov 8 18:07:25 UTC 2011

On Sun, Nov 06, 2011 at 08:07:45PM +0100, Nicolas François <nicolas.francois at centraliens.net> wrote:
> In your example, user sf-dustfinger uses sf-dustfinger as primary group.
> groupmod does not change this.

Thats not true, the passwd file refers to a group by number, not by name.

If I modify the group database for that group to have a different name, it
will still be the same group in a different number.

> Your proposed switch would make a change for the user (the primary group
> would become 6155 which is no longer sf-dustfinger).

No, it would not, the user would be unchanged - the user could, for example,
still access all her files.

Right *now*, groupmod makes all files that rely on the users group

Thats a much bigger change.

Alas, the real motivation for actually changing groupmod (or actually
extending it) as that, right now, you cannot just modify the group
database with it.

You have to write a seperate utility to manage the group database, which
is not required for usermod.

> If your intent is to keep the sf-dustfinger's primary group, you should
> create a new group.

My intent is to modify the group database, not the password database, as
is documented.

> It is already documented that the group ownership of files are not
> changed:
>    Any files that have the old group ID and must continue to belong to
>    GROUP, must have their group ID changed manually.

Sure, but thats completely irrelevant for that.

> I've added passwd in the list of FILES.

Documenting this misfeature is certainly useful, but having it behave in a
rational way, just like usermod does, would of course be even better.

Right now, the utility of groupmod is severely diminished because it isn't
possible to modify the group database without ill sideeffect with it.

In effect, this amounts to writing ones own groupmod.

An option to restore sane behaviour (as with usermod) would be well

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