[Pkg-shadow-devel] Review of Debian man-pages-3.35 patches: open topics: passwd.5 (passwd vs shadow)

Simon Paillard spaillard at debian.org
Thu Jul 19 20:07:46 UTC 2012

Hi all,

(with shadow maintainers in copy, feel free to CC linux-man at vger.kernel.org)

On Sat, May 05, 2012 at 10:59:44AM +1200, Michael Kerrisk (man-pages) wrote:
> I'm undecided about the patches below, and would welcome comments
> about possibly upstreaming.
> ==========
> http://patch-tracker.debian.org/patch/misc/view/manpages/3.35-0.1/man3/getpwent.3
> ===
> I have a sense of deja vu about this patch. Did we converse about it
> once before Joey?
> I'm sure that Andries rejected it for the same reason I do: the
> information is covered better (and belongs) in the upstream passwd(5)
> page. But it looks like Debian's problem is that they think someone
> else's passwd page is better than the man-pages passwd(5) page.

In Debian and its derivatives, passwd(5) is provided by passwd package, from
shadow source package, as this package manages /etc/passwd.
Moreover, shadow uses po4a and thus provides many translations already for

In case of basic passwd (not shadow's one), there is no manpage (like Fedora),
so no conflict.

In other distribs:
- Arch does like Debian (passwd.5 from shadow)

- gentoo uses passwd from shadow, but keep passwd.5 from manpages

- fedora, like mandriva and mageia don't use shadow, so provide passwd.5 from manpages

> But, when I look at the passwd(5) page provided by default on my Ubuntu
> system, and compare with the man-pages version, the man-pages version
> seems substantially better. And for man-pages-3.41, I've improved it
> still further (complete page attached):
> [[
> ]]
> I'd encourage you to drop the getpwent.3 patch, and to reconsider
> adopting the man-pages passwd.5 page.

Nicolas (shadow maintainer in Debian) said on IRC he'd agree with letting manpages
providing passwd.5, but it cannot apply for all distribs.

- shadow need to provide passwd.5, because its passwd is different from the
  one documented in manpages 
- manpages need to provide passwd.5, because not all distribs use passwd from

Do you have suggestions ?

Simon Paillard

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