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32.1. posix — The most common POSIX system calls

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32.3. grp — The group database

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32.2. pwd — The password database

Platform: Unix

*Platforms: *Unix

This module provides access to the Unix user account and password database. It is available on all Unix versions.

Password database entries are reported as a tuple-like object, whose attributes correspond to the members of the passwd structure (Attribute field below, see <pwd.h>):

Index Attribute Meaning
0 pw_name Login name
1 pw_passwd Optional encrypted password
2 pw_uid Numerical user ID
3 pw_gid Numerical group ID
4 pw_gecos User name or comment field
5 pw_dir User home directory
6 pw_shell User command interpreter

The uid and gid items are integers, all others are strings. KeyError is raised if the entry asked for cannot be found.

Note: In traditional Unix the field pw_passwd usually contains a
password encrypted with a DES derived algorithm (see module crypt). However most modern unices use a so-called shadow password system. On those unices the pw_passwd field only contains an asterisk ('*') or the letter 'x' where the encrypted password is stored in a file /etc/shadow which is not world readable. Whether the pw_passwd field contains anything useful is system-dependent. If available, the spwd module should be used where access to the encrypted password is required.

It defines the following items:


Return the password database entry for the given numeric user ID.


Return the password database entry for the given user name.


Return a list of all available password database entries, in arbitrary order.

See also:

Module grp
An interface to the group database, similar to this.
Module spwd
An interface to the shadow password database, similar to this.