PASSWD(1) BSD General Commands Manual PASSWD(1)
passwd -- modify a user's password
passwd [-i infosystem] [-l location] [name]
Passwd changes the user's password. First, the user is prompted for their current password.
If the current password is correctly typed, a new password is requested. The new password
must be entered twice to avoid typing errors.
The new password should be at least six characters long and not purely alphabetic. Its
total length should be less than _PASSWORD_LEN (currently 128 characters) although some
infosystems allow longer passwords. Numbers, upper case letters and meta characters are
Once the password has been verified, passwd communicates the new password information to the
This option specifies where the password update should be applied. Under Mac OS X
10.3, supported infosystems are:
(default) The netinfo database containing the user's password. If no -l option
is specified, the local netinfo database is assumed.
file The local flat-files (included for legacy configurations).
nis A remote NIS server containing the user's password.
A system conforming to opendirectory APIs and supporting updates (including
LDAP, netinfo, etc).
This option causes the password to be updated in the given location of the choosen
infosystem. When changing only the local password, pwd_mkdb(8) is used to update the
location may be a domain name or server/tag
location may be a file name (/etc/master.passwd is the default)
location may be a NIS domainname
location may be a directory node name
The super-user privilages are not required change a user's current password if only
the local password is modified.
/etc/master.passwd The user database
/etc/passwd A Version 7 format password file
/etc/passwd.XXXXXX Temporary copy of the password file
chpass(1), login(1), passwd(5), pwd_mkdb(8), vipw(8,) nicl(1)
Robert Morris and Ken Thompson, UNIX password security.
A passwd command appeared in Version 6 AT&T UNIX.
4th Berkeley Distribution June 6, 1993 4th Berkeley Distribution