8

enter image description here

Question: what is "Charlie &" for the root user? I didn't gave "Charlie &" for gecos field, I think I didn't gave any at all.

ps.: the "/sbin/nologin" doesn't matters, I just tested something

1
9

That is the default you get if you leave it out. It comes from Charlie (the) Root (user) and I've seen it show up as a name over the years in articles and papers. Don't know where it orignated but at least before 1995.

The & in the Gecos field is automatically replaced by root.

It is mentioned e.g in Matt Bishops paper (page 6). And it has its own wikipedia article which says that it is a reference to the baseball player Charlie Root

3
  • 4
    My understanding is the & is replaced by the username of that entry, which is root in this case, but could be used in other entries. Not that I've ever seen it used that way...
    – kurtm
    Jan 22 '14 at 20:03
  • & is replaced by the username with its first letter capitalized. The root account's full name was indeed set to Charlie Root as a joke - perhaps Charlie Root was a household name in the United States at the time BSD was created.
    – Lassi
    Aug 12 '19 at 14:27
  • There are other jokes in passwd. In NetBSD, there's toor: Bourne-again Superuser (if the root account doesn't work and you need a backup account - Bourne is a reference to Stephen Bourne who wrote the original sh shell, and a pun on born-again). NetBSD also has daemon: The devil himself for background programs.
    – Lassi
    Aug 12 '19 at 14:36

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.