Only tested on RHL 5.2 Intel, but if the last field in
/etc/passwd is cleared, then login IS permitted (with bash I
think), and the specified home directory is ignored and
replace by /
Yes, this IS a mis-configuration, but some sysadmins might
mistakenly think that this is a viable substitute for
/bin/false or /dev/null.
In /etc/passwd, an omitted shell historically means '/bin/sh'
(although not all programs get it right). If it gave one a home
directory of /, it would be broken, but in a quick test on a RH
5.2 Linux system it doesn't seem to.
I don't think that pam should 'fix' this; we have environments that
need to share the password file between RedHat and other systems,
and those other systems expect the historical behavior for a blank
The behavior when the shell field is blank is
to use the default login shell; hence, this is normal
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