MacPorts that use dscl create group records with password keys -- is this an error?

Peter O'Gorman peter at
Fri Aug 15 09:58:06 PDT 2008

Tabitha McNerney wrote:
> Hello all --
> Recently I have been industrializing my company's use of MacPorts on
> Xserve, and I noticed something interesting today, namely, that password
> record are created by some MacPorts installations for Group record
> types. Do Groups need passwords? I'm not so sure they do and this could
> be a bug.

It is simply following convention. For example, /etc/group has entries
groupname:password:gid:members, my /etc/group file has:


and dscl . read /Groups/wheel (output abbreviated)
GroupMembership: root
Password: *
PrimaryGroupID: 0

And the group(5) manpage says:
The passwd field is an optional encrypted password.  This field is
rarely used and an asterisk is normally placed in it rather than leaving
it blank.

Peter O'Gorman

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