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

Marc Lehmann schmorp at schmorp.de
Wed Nov 9 20:37:28 UTC 2011

On Wed, Nov 09, 2011 at 07:04:37AM +0100, Christian PERRIER <bubulle at debian.org> wrote:
> > 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
> > inaccessible.
> > 
> > Thats a much bigger change.
> I wouldn't call that a "change".

You called it like that in your previous mail, of course.

> AFAIK, this has always been groupmod's behaviour.

Your way of arguing is a bit disingenious - we are not debating the many
uses of the word change - I used "change" in the meaning you used it in
your first mail (user-visible changes caused by existing behaviour) and that was cetrainly correct, now you redefine it to mean
something else (changes in the behaviour of groupmod itself).

*Obviously* changing the way groupmod works is a bigger change than not
doing anything. Are you really arguing for that?

This leads to nowhere and is a bit unfair.

> What you would like, from what I understand, is an option in groupmod
> to NOT change users' primary group when the modified group is the
> primary group for some users.

Yes - basically a switch that would make the documentation true and make it
possible to use groupmod for programmatic changes to the group database.

You can already change the users group in the password database with usermod
without affecting the group database.

But you cannot change a group definition without affecting the user

> That's perfectly understandable, for sure, but this is not a reason
> for changing the default behaviour of groupmod (principle of least surprise).

Only you are agruing for that one, not me.

> > In effect, this amounts to writing ones own groupmod.
> It's probably only a specific switch for groupmod that's needed in
> your case.

Yes, one that reinstates the documented behaviour of modifying the group
database (because right now it modifies the user database).

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