As far as I thought, the list of users for my system can be printed in the terminal with:

sed 's/\([^:]*\).*/\1/' /etc/passwd

But I have noticed that when I use


In the USER column, my user name is listed for some running processes, but it is abbreviated to the first five letters with a "+" on the end, and there is a user that is not listed in the /etc/passwd file called "debian-+".

Why is this not listed and why is myusername abbreviated to "myuse+"?

  • 3
    getent passwd | cut -d: -f1 will list all user accounts valid for your system. Apr 27, 2019 at 22:34

1 Answer 1


/etc/passwd is one of many possible user databases. Others include things like IPA. You can use getent to see the effective passwd database.

As for the shortening of the user name, that's just the way top displays; sadly it looks like that can't be changed. You might want to try the w command.

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