I'm attempting to add some of our LDAP users to a locally defined group on our RHEL server, however I get an error stating that the LDAP user is not found in /etc/passwd.

What would be the best way to allow LDAP users to be added to local groups?

My feeling is that this must be done manually. I could edit: /etc/group and add the LDAP group to the list. Would that be ideal?

[server]# id apache
uid=409(apache) gid=409(apache) groups=409(apache) context=user_u:system_r:unconfined_t:s0
[server]# id john.doe
uid=11389(john.doe) gid=6097(ABC_Corporate_US) groups=6097(ABC_Corporate_US) context=user_u:system_r:unconfined_t:s0
[server]# /usr/sbin/usermod -a -G apache john.doe
usermod: john.doe not found in /etc/passwd

OS: RHEL (Red Hat Enterprise Linux Server release 5.3 (Tikanga)) Note: Updating the OS on this machine is not an option.

  • Why not create an LDAP group?
    – Mei
    Mar 2, 2012 at 18:37
  • @David, that's a pretty generic question, can you clarify? Mar 3, 2012 at 1:47
  • There are LDAP schema that support UNIX groups; if you use those, then you don't have to mess with on-system UNIX groups at all.
    – Mei
    Mar 5, 2012 at 15:57

2 Answers 2


Your version of usermod doesn't support LDAP. This was fixed in newer versions of RHEL:


  • That means he could probablu edit /etc/group manually to add the users then? Mar 2, 2012 at 19:23
  • While this may be true that the current version is out of date, it doesn't really answer the question (which is: How do you get around it in the current version posted?). I may not have permission to update RHEL. Mar 3, 2012 at 1:43

I discovered that this can be achieved using the gpasswd command.

gpasswd -a john.doe apache

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