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The /etc/passwd file is a text file that contains important information about each user in Linux Operating Systems.
Some of this info, is username, UID, GID, shell, home directory, and some other.
The file is named as originally it also contained the data used to verify passwords. However, on modern Unix systems the security-sensitive password information is instead often stored in a different file using shadow passwords.
Every user can read it, but only root can write it, unless using sudo permissions.