Linux – What are the commas in the /etc/passwd file


There are weird commas after the real-name parameter of some lines in my /etc/passwd file.


What gives? Why are they there? Can I remove them?

Best Answer

  • Some tool you used to create the account (adduser?) added them. The tool in question sees the comment / real name field in the passwd file as a GECOS field:

    The field values are

    1. User's full name (or application name, if the account is for a program)
    2. Building and room number or contact person
    3. Office telephone number
    4. Any other contact information (pager number, fax, etc.)

    However, I cannot think of an applicaton which uses them. I believe these fields are close to useless. Use a different tool for adding users (useradd?) or explicitely give a value for the GECOS field if possible.

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