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Re: What are these groups for?

On Wed, Oct 02, 2002 at 12:21:04PM -0400, Joey Hess wrote:
> > bin:*:2:
>     HELP: No files on my system are owned by user or group bin. What
>           good are they? Historically they were probably the owners of
>           binaries in /bin? It is not mentioned in the FHS, debian
>           policy, or the changelogs of base-passwd or base-files.

Yes, bin is a group from the history of UNIX, and you are correct in its
use. I can't actually tell you why, but files in /usr/bin (and other bin
directories) were once commonly owned by user bin and group bin. I think
HP-UX and Solaris still do it that way, and the bin account's home
directory is /usr/bin (on those machines /bin is just a symlink to
/usr/bin). I vaguely remember reading that the bin user was sometimes
used to run daemons, too.

> > sys:*:3:
>     HELP: As with bin, except I don't even know what it was good for
>           historically.

I can't give you a real reason on this either, but I do know that device
files under /dev are sometimes owned by group sys. I think some other
files are also commonly owned by root:sys, but off the top of my head I
don't remember what kind.

Michael Heironimus

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