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I got following entries in /etc/passwd and /etc/passwd- on one system:

userfoo:x:501:-513::/home/userfoo:/bin/false

There's no group 513 anywhere on the system. What's this "negative" gid or a gid with a dash prefix? Is this some kind of convention?

It seems that dash/negative alone is the reason this user is not recognised, e.g. by passwd -S.

I went ahead and manually edited -513 to 9999 (some non-existent group id) and user entry is fine now (it was not a real user, just a helper).

I'd like to know how it could have happened?

P.S. it's a debian-based linux system.

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It sounds like a bug... (https://bugs.debian.org/cgi-bin/bugreport.cgi?bug=39679)

Which adduser package version is istalled on your system?

dpkg -l | grep adduser
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  • Well, that's interesting. I'm not running Hurd kernel though. I doubt gid was supplied explicitly at all, yet I'm still to validate that. – Dima Tisnek Nov 3 '15 at 19:44
  • Version is adduser 3.113+nmu3 – Dima Tisnek Nov 4 '15 at 12:42

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