Re: gecos field naming (was Re: Remaining things to remove mostly per the 80/20 rule) Lassi Kortela 11 Aug 2019 15:48 UTC
>>>> I further advocate along with Lassi that pw_gecos from the passwd >>>> struct be added to the SRFI in the user-info record. We could call it >>>> either full-name or full-name-field, the latter suggestion because >>>> other stuff has been added to it in times past. > >>> One more possibility is "comment field". > >> Or "title" or "description" or "display-name". > > On the other hand, we will have to note that it's the gecos field, since > plenty of people know it by name, even if they don't know that it stands > for the General Electric Operating System -> General Comprehensive OS > when GE's mainframe line was tragically bought by Honeywell. GECOS > mainframes supplied the line printers for early instances of UNIX at > Bell Labs, thus a passwd entry was needed, and later repurposed. Speaking as someone who started my computing life on Windows (<https://philip.greenspun.com/wtr/microsoft-achiever.html>), calling it the GECOS field is completely baffling :) Though we should definitely mention that name it in the SRFI text. Here's a survey of how it's described in passwd(5) manual pages: Linux: GECOS -- This field (sometimes called the "comment field") is optional and used only for informational purposes. Usually, it contains the full username. Some programs (for example, finger(1)) display information from this field. MacOS: gecos -- User's full name. The gecos field normally contains the user's full name. Note that Mac OS X differs from some other operating systems, where the gecos field may contain other comma-separated information about the user. FreeBSD: gecos -- General information about the user. The gecos field normally contains comma (`,') separated subfields as follows: - name user's full name - office user's office number - wphone user's work phone number - hphone user's home phone number The full name may contain an ampersand (`&') which will be replaced by the capitalized login name when the gecos field is displayed or used by various programs such as finger(1), sendmail(8), etc. The office and phone number subfields are used by the finger(1) program, and possibly other applications. DragonFly BSD: ditto OpenBSD: ditto NetBSD: ditto Solaris: gcos-field -- is the user's real name, along with information to pass along in a mail-message heading. (It is called the gcos-field for historical reasons.) An ``&'' (ampersand) in this field stands for the login name (in cases where the login name appears in a user's real name). Minix: The gecos field can be set by the user. It is expected to be a comma separated list of personal data where the first item is the full name of the user. AIX: GECOS -- Full name of the user HP-UX: reserved gecos ID -- The gecos field may contain the following identification: user's full name, office location, extension, and home phone. The gecos field can be set by use of the chfn command and is displayed by the finger command (see chfn(1) and finger(1)). These two commands assume the information in this field is in the order listed above. A portion of the user's real name can be represented in the gecos field by an & character, which some utilities (including finger) expand by substituting the login name for it and shifting the first letter of the login name to uppercase.