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When I run whoami it says:

whoami: cannot find name for user id 0

My /etc/passwd file looks like this:

root::0:0:root:/root:/bin/bash
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Your /etc/passwd is broken? Can you post the contents –  warl0ck Jan 31 '13 at 2:06
    
What's your id command in current shell when you get whoami?. –  Mohsen Pahlevanzadeh Jan 31 '13 at 3:16
7  
(1) Which linux distribution? (2) What is output of pwck and grpck? (3) Does file /etc/shadow exist? –  John Siu Jan 31 '13 at 4:34
    
If you have ltrace installed, try ltrace whoami. You should see a call to getpwuid() there. –  ott-- Jan 31 '13 at 17:09
5  
Also, have you set up (or attempted to) directory services of some sort (LDAP, NIS, etc.)? Have you touched /etc/nsswitch.conf? –  derobert Jan 31 '13 at 17:09
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3 Answers

Notice there is a missing x

This is the content of mine on Linux Mint with kernel 3.8.0-35-generic

root:x:0:0:root:/root:/bin/zsh

The x means that the actual password information is being stored in a separate shadow password file, tipically /etc/shadow

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Passwd

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I would recommend checking the permissions on /etc/passwd and /etc/group. If they're not set to 644 (-rw-r--r--), then run:

chmod 644 /etc/passwd; chmod 644 /etc/group

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still says cannot find name for user id 0 –  gabemai Jan 31 '13 at 22:28
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Check that each and every line in /etc/passwd has exactly seven fields.

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