I can parse the /etc/passwd with augtool:

usershome=`augtool -L -A --transform "Passwd incl /etc/passwd" print "/files/etc/passwd/$myuser/home" | sed -En 's/\/.* = (.*)/\1/p'`

...but it seems a little too convoluted.

Is there any simple, dedicated tool for displaying users'home (like usermod can be used to change it)?

  • Are you looking for a puppetized answer? – mgjk Oct 2 '14 at 13:04
  • @mgjk No, I know how to do it on puppet. In fact I need this answer to write a bootstrapping script that sets up a puppetmaster on a LXC container :-) – Adam Ryczkowski Oct 2 '14 at 13:06

You should never parse /etc/passwd directly. You might be on a system with remote users, in which case they won't be in /etc/passwd. The /etc/passwd file might be somewhere else. Etc.

If you need direct access to the user database, use getent.

$ getent passwd phemmer

$ getent passwd phemmer | awk -F: '{ print $6 }'

However there is also another way that doesn't involve parsing:

$ user=phemmer
$ eval echo "~$user"

The ~ operator in the shell expands to the specified user's home directory. However we have to use the eval because expansion of the variable $user happens after expansion of ~. So by using the eval and double quotes, you're effectively expanding $user first, then calling eval echo "~phemmer".

Once you have the home directory, simple tack /.ssh on to the end.

$ sshdir="$(eval echo "~$user/.ssh")"
$ echo "$sshdir"
  • Great answer with all the polishing that includes the awk magic (which I never truly understood) – Adam Ryczkowski Oct 2 '14 at 13:09
  • 1
    Is it always safe to assume that the sshdir will be ~/.ssh? Can that be changed by a configuration setting anywhere or is it hardcoded into ssh? – terdon Oct 2 '14 at 13:15
  • 2
    It is a default, that can be changed in /etc/ssh/ssh_config and sshd_config; at least on Ubuntu 14.04 – Adam Ryczkowski Oct 2 '14 at 13:33

you are looking for $myuser's home dir ?

 awk -F: -v user=$myuser '$1==user { print $6 ;}' /etc/passwd

you can use

 awk -F: -v user=$myuser '$1==user { printf "%s/.ssh\n",$6;}' /etc/passwd

to get .ssh dir.

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