SUMMARY: password change

Date: Sat Apr 16 1994 - 10:40:52 CDT

Thank you for you all who answered my questions. I got messages from 33
fellows. I succeed in changing the password. The following are the summary
from dabe@cs.UMD.EDU. Thank you again.

What passwd does when it goes to change the passwd file is (essentially)
the following:

  - Atomically open a file called /etc/ptmp (or is it /etc/security/ptmpa)
    This means that no other process may create this file, and assures the
    passwd process that it may safely proceed, knowing that no other
    process will "step on its toes".

  - Read in the passwd file, write out the passwd file

  - Remove the "lock file" (/etc/ptmp), allowing another process to open

What your error message is saying is that it cannot edit the passwd file
because some other process has opened /etc/ptmp and not deleted it. This
process may still be running, or it may have died abnormally. Either way,
make sure there is no process still running which would be writing to the
passwd file, then delete /etc/ptmp (and/or /etc/security/ptmpa). Voila!
Your troubles should be solved.

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