chfn - change finger information


chfn [-D binddn] [-P path] [-f name] [-o office] [-p phone] [-h home_phone] [-m other] [-r service] [-q] [-u] [-v] [user]


chfn is used to change the user finger information. This are the users fullname, office room number, office phone number and home phone number. This information is stored in the /etc/passwd file and typically printed by finger(1) and similiar programs. A normal user may only change the fields for their own account, the super user may change the fields for any account. Also, only the super user may use the -o option to change the undefined portions of the GECOS field.

If no information is given on the command line, chfn operates in an interactive fashion, prompting the user for each field. Enter the new value to change the field, or leave the line blank to use the current value. Enter none or a blank only to remove the current value. The current value is displayed between a pair of [ ] marks.

The only restrictions placed on the contents of the fields is that no control characters may be present, nor any of comma, colon, or equal sign. The other field does not have this restriction, and is used to store accounting information used by other applications.

This version of chfn is able to change the shell of local, NIS, NIS+ and LDAP accounts, if the permissions allow it.


-D, --binddn binddn
 Use the Distinguished Name binddn to bind to the LDAP directory. The user will be prompted for a password for simple authentication.
-P, --path path
 The passwd and shadow files are located below the specified directory path. chfn will use this files, not /etc/passwd and /etc/shadow. This is useful for example on NIS master servers, where you do not want to give all users in the NIS database automatic access to your NIS server and the NIS map is build from special files.
-f, --full-name
 Specify your real name.
-o, --office
 Specify your office room number.
-p, --phone
 Specify your office phone number.
-h, --home-phone
 Specify your home phone number.
-m, --other
 Specify the undefined portions of the GECOS field.
-r, --service
 Specify the service where the GECOS field should be changed. Supported services are files, ldap, nis and nisplus.
-q, --quite
 Don’t be verbose.
-u, --usage
 Print a usage message and exit.
 Print a more verbose help text and exit.
-v, --version
 Print version information and exit.


SHADOW_CHFN - If this environment variable is set to 1, the chfn options are compatible to the version from the shadow suite.


/etc/passwd - user account information


chsh(1), finger(1), passwd(5)


Thorsten Kukuk <>

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