sync-accounts(8) synchronise accounts and passwords


sync-accounts [options] [source ...]


sync-accounts is a tool for copying account information into the local system's password and group databases, or equivalent, from other systems. It can be used to slave individual accounts, whole systems, or various partial combinations.

By default, when invoked, sync-accounts reads is configuration file and updates all of the local details it is configured to synchronise, from all relevant sources.

If one or more sources are named as command-line arguments, only information from those sources is installed locally.

See sync-accounts(5) for detailed information about sync-accounts's behaviour and configuration.


Reads config-file instead of /etc/sync-accounts.
Instead of updating local information, sync-accounts displays a summary of which accounts are synchronised or not, and from where.
Causes sync-accounts not to actually install the new information in the local password and group databases. Instead, updated versions are written to the files passwd and group in the current directory. With -n new accounts are not created at all. The system databases are not locked.


sync-accounts is not resistant to malicious data in the local password and group databases, or its configuration file or command line arguments.

Malicious data in source information will not be able to take control of sync-accounts, but will be copied to the local databases if sync-accounts is configured to do so.

To update the local databases, sync-accounts must be run as root. For -q and -n sync-accounts still needs to be able to successfuly invoke the commands specified in the configuration for getpasswd and getgroup.


All went well and there were no warnings.
any other
There were problems. The local databases may or may not have been updated.


Default configuration file. (Override with -C.)
Default command invoked by sync-accounts to create local users.
Default location for created users' home directories.
Default shell for created users.
/etc/passwd, /etc/group, /etc/shadow, /etc/master.passwd
Local account databases, depending on configuration.
Must not exist.


Manipulated by sync-ccounts when it is reinvoking itself via vipw or vigr, according to lockpasswd runvia or lockgroup runvia.
Used by sync-accounts for its own purposes. Do not set these variables.

Setting variables used by vipw(8) and vigr(8), apart from EDITOR and/orVISUAL will affect the operation of sync-accounts. Avoid messing with these if possible.

PATH is used to find subprograms such as sync-accounts-createuser and vipw/vigr.


Using sync-accounts does not give particularly prompt propagation of changed account information.

There is no simple mechanism for automatically getting the right configuration details for accessing the local system's password and group databases.

All the systems sharing account information using sync-accounts need to be using compatible encrypted-password schemes.


sync-accounts and this manpage are part of the sync-accounts package which was written by Ian Jackson <[email protected]>. They are Copyright 1999-2000,2002 Ian Jackson <[email protected]>, and Copyright 2000-2001 nCipher Corporation Ltd.

The sync-accounts package is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation; either version 3, or (at your option) any later version.

This is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU General Public License for more details.

You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License along with this program; if not, consult the Free Software Foundation's website at, or the GNU Project website at