to change the home directory of a user by using usermod
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As you said, you want to change user's home from /home/linus to /home/linus/gnu/linux, which means /home/linus exists and is user's home directory. But when you switch to user it gives you "/", which is root's home directory.
So once check /etc/passwd file entry for the user linus, as:
and i get the "/" home directory in the user login after i have done this changes to the user. when my home directory is "/home/linus" i don't experience any problem but as soon as i change the home directory, the user's login shows "/" for "pwd" command
Yes, but I ask about "/home/linus/gnu/linux", check also all parent directories if user linus has "x" permission for it. It need to traverse these directories. You can use "su linus" as root and check if you can do "cd /home/linus/gnu/linux".