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Old 05-08-2009, 03:25 AM   #1
Registered: Oct 2005
Posts: 288

Rep: Reputation: 30
how to change directory using bash or other simple language

I was task to change the home dir of the thousand of users in my server. The new directory will be according to the first letter of their username. If my username is nelson, the home dir must be /emails/n/nelson. If the login name is fred, the home dir must be /emails/f/fred.

As of the moment, current dir was only located at /home dir such as /home/fred.

Can anyone give a hint on how would I do this? My problem is getting the first character of their username and putting it in their designate folder which was also according to the first characted of their domain.

I tried this script but I encounter a problem


USER=`cat /etc/passwd | grep home | awk -F: '{print $1}'`
LETTER=`cat /etc/passwd | grep home | sed -r 's/(.)[^.]*\.?/\L\1/g'`

for letter in $LETTER;do
for user in $USER;do
if [ "$letter" == t ]; then
mkdir /emails/$letter/$user
mkdir /emails/$letter/$user/new
mkdir /emails/$letter/$user/cur
mkdir /emails/$letter/$user/tmp
usermod -d /emails/$letter/$user $user
elif [ "$letter" == n ]; then
mkdir /emails/$letter/$user
mkdir /emails/$letter/$user/new
mkdir /emails/$letter/$user/cur
mkdir /emails/$letter/$user/tmp
usermod -d /emails/$letter/$user $user


Old 05-08-2009, 03:39 AM   #2
Registered: Sep 2003
Location: Bologna
Distribution: CentOS 6.5 OpenSuSE 12.3
Posts: 10,509

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Don't use two for loops, otherwise for each letter a new home directory is created for all the users under each letter. Just loop over the users and extract the first letter from the username inside the loop. Actually you don't need neither the if/elif statement, until the commands are the same for all the letters:
while read user
  letter=$(echo $user | cut -c1)
  mkdir -p /emails/$letter/$user/new /emails/$letter/$user/cur /emails/$letter/$user/tmp
  echo "CHECKING T"
  usermod -d /emails/$letter/$user $user
done < <(awk -F: '/home/{print $1}' /etc/passwd)
Old 05-08-2009, 03:46 AM   #3
Registered: Oct 2005
Posts: 288

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 30

Thanks for the reply. Will post here if I encounter some problem.

I'm still checking the scripts for some additional commands. It was such a headache migrating to new mail servers
Old 05-08-2009, 04:28 AM   #4
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Registered: Aug 2006
Posts: 2,697
Blog Entries: 5

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if you have Python, here's an alternative solution
#!/usr/bin/env python
import os
for line in open("/etc/passwd"):
    if "home" in line[5]:


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