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HP-UX 11i Version 3: February 2007

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userdb_read(), userdb_write(), userdb_delete() — read, write or delete information in the user database, /var/adm/userdb


#include <hpsecurity.h> int userdb_read(const char *name, const char * const attr[], char * const value[]); int userdb_write(const char *name, const char * const attr[], const char * const value[]); int userdb_delete(const char *name);


These functions read, write, or delete information in the user database, /var/adm/userdb, which is described in userdb(4).

The name argument indicates a specific user entry in the user database. Attributes are accessed or modified only in this entry.

For element i of the two arrays, attr[i] is a pointer to the name of an attribute, and value[i] is a pointer to its value represented as text. The arrays attr and value are terminated by a null character.

userdb_read() reads the values of the attributes specified in the attr array from the user database into the corresponding value array. If an attribute is not present, a null string is copied into the value array. Each element (except for the terminating null) of the value array is a pointer to a buffer. The size of each buffer is assumed to be at least USERDB_MAX_ATTR_SIZE bytes, which is defined in <hpsecurity.h>.

userdb_write() writes the values of the attributes specified in the attr array from the corresponding value array into the database. For each null string in the value array, the corresponding attribute is deleted; the system-wide default described in /etc/default/security will then apply; see security(4). Attribute values are allowed to contain only printable ASCII characters (hex 20-7e).

The tab character (hex 09) may also be used for the following special cases for value:

\t+num or \t-num

Add or subtract num to or from the current attribute value. Both num and the current value are assumed to be a string of at most nine ASCII decimal digits. The current value may also have an optional sign, and is assumed to have a value of 0 if the attribute is not defined.


No operation (do not modify the attribute).

userdb_delete() deletes a user entry from the database. The user entry contains all of the configurable and internal attributes for a user.


Upon successful completion, 0 is returned.


If an error occurs, one of the following values is returned.


could not find a database entry for the user specified in the name argument


invalid argument


insufficient permission to access the user database


a file system error occurred


the value of one of the attr arguments is invalid


the value of one of the value arguments is invalid


overflowed a database block


overflowed the user entry


database lock failure


the database is disabled; see userdb(4)


the name argument is not a valid username


the username specified by the name argument is not a local user in /etc/passwd


The following program segment writes values for two attributes into the user database for user joe, and then deletes a third attribute. It then reads and prints two attributes plus the attribute which it removed. Finally, it removes all of the attributes for user amy.

#include <hpsecurity.h> char p1[USERDB_MAX_ATTR_SIZE]; char p2[USERDB_MAX_ATTR_SIZE]; char p3[USERDB_MAX_ATTR_SIZE]; char *write_attrs[] = { "AUDIT_FLAG", "MIN_PASSWORD_LENGTH", "AUTH_MAXTRIES", 0 }; char *write_values[] = { "1", "7", "", 0 }; char *read_attrs[] = { "MIN_PASSWORD_LENGTH", "AUTH_MAXTRIES", "AUDIT_FLAG", 0 }; char *read_values[] = { p1, p2, p3, 0 }; if (userdb_write("joe", write_attrs, write_values)) exit(1); if (userdb_read("joe", read_attrs, read_values)) exit(2); printf ("p1=%s p2=%s p3=%s", p1, p2, p3); userdb_delete("amy");

After successful execution, the output is:

p1=7 p2= p3=1



user database


security defaults configuration file


security attributes description file

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