It is typically used to record general information about the account or its user(s) such as their real name and phone number.
- User's full name (or application name, if the account is for a program)
- Building and room number or contact person
- Office telephone number
- Home telephone number
- Any other contact information (pager number, fax, external e-mail address, etc.)
In most UNIX systems non-root users can change their own information using the chfn or chsh command.
On Internet Relay Chat (IRC), the real name field is commonly referred to as the gecos field. IRC clients are required to supply this field when connecting. Hexchat, an X-Chat fork, defaults to 'realname', TalkSoup.app on GNUstep defaults to 'John Doe', and irssi reads the operating system user's full name, replacing it with 'unknown' if not defined. Some IRC clients use this field for advertising; for example, ZNC defaulted to "Got ZNC?", but changed it to "RealName = " to match its configuration syntax in 2015.
- FreeBSD man pages : passwd (5)
- AIX user and group administration IBM
- 6.3.2. Files Controlling User Accounts and Groups RedHat
- GitHub (20 September 2015). "Resolve #818: "Got ZNC?" is a little weird real name".