This is more of a clarification question than a problem.

I'm not a sysadmin, but out of curiosity I went through our config files and encountered this behavior.

This is on a CentOS 5.8 system


LN XX: <groupname>:x:<id>:<uname of another user>:<another user>:,<me>

As you can see, users are not delimited by ',' but ':', and before my username is both ':,'

I am defaultly a member of a different group.

The folder I am writing to and files/directories in it have permissions (775)


and its owner is another user from the group mentioned before.

The question I have is:

  • Why can I write to this folder? /etc/group is declared differently than in documentation, so I should be other, shouldn't I?

  • Is there other place/way to add user to group.

1 Answer 1


Note that in the line /etc/group line you supplied, there's a , before your name. it's possible (but unlikely) that that Centos system is being quite liberal in how it parses /etc/group.

More likely, is that it's treating all the : separated usenames before yours as just one username, <uname of another user>:<another user>:...and your username is just the second member of that group. That's what my (debian sid) system does if I create a bogus group similar to your example.

  • 1
    if you run id <uname of another user>, does it show them as a member of that group. alternatively, run members groupname if you have that tool installed.
    – cas
    Aug 2, 2017 at 11:56
  • This seems to be the answer. The users before ',' are not in the group, whereas I am. Thank you.
    – Jacob
    Aug 2, 2017 at 12:03

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