file-ownership

Introduction

Linux files and directories always belong to a user and group. That is what we call ownership. If this can be boring to new users, remember that this is a huge part of what makes Linux as secure as it is.

Check current ownership

Check ownership in the current directory:

ls -l
Example output:
total 32
drwxr-xr-x 5 ultimatebyte ultimatebyte 4096 Jan 29 22:26 lgsm
drwxr-xr-x 5 ultimatebyte ultimatebyte 4096 Jan 29 22:23 log
drwxr-xr-x 4 ultimatebyte ultimatebyte 4096 Jan 29 22:26 serverfiles
drwxr-xr-x 8 ultimatebyte ultimatebyte 4096 Jan 29 22:26 Steam
drwxr-xr-x 5 ultimatebyte ultimatebyte 4096 Jan 29 22:24 steamcmd
-rwxr-x--- 1 ultimatebyte ultimatebyte 5691 Jan 30 01:14 twserver
Syntax of the output is:
  • d for directory or - for file
  • user, then group, then others permissions
  • number specifies the number of links or directories inside of a directory
  • The user that owns the file, or directory
  • The group that file or directory belongs to
  • The size in bytes
  • The date of last modification
  • The name of the file

Check ownership from all files and hidden files of any directory

ls -al /path/to/file/or/dir
Sample output:
[email protected]:~$ ls -al /home/ultimatebyte
total 132
drwxr-xr-x 11 ultimatebyte ultimatebyte 4096 Feb 2 07:36 . # Ownership from the current given dir
drwxr-xr-x 22 root root 4096 Feb 2 07:36 .. # Ownership from the parent dir
-rw------- 1 ultimatebyte ultimatebyte 49744 Feb 12 03:04 .bash_history
-rw-r--r-- 1 ultimatebyte ultimatebyte 220 Apr 15 2016 .bash_logout
-rw-r--r-- 1 ultimatebyte ultimatebyte 3515 Apr 15 2016 .bashrc
drwxr-xr-x 4 ultimatebyte ultimatebyte 4096 Jan 15 23:26 .config
drwxr-xr-x 5 ultimatebyte ultimatebyte 4096 Jan 29 22:26 lgsm
drwxr-xr-x 3 ultimatebyte ultimatebyte 4096 Jan 14 18:10 .local
drwxr-xr-x 5 ultimatebyte ultimatebyte 4096 Jan 29 22:23 log
-rw------- 1 ultimatebyte ultimatebyte 1005 Jan 30 01:14 .nano_history
-rw-r--r-- 1 ultimatebyte ultimatebyte 675 Apr 15 2016 .profile
-rw-r--r-- 1 ultimatebyte ultimatebyte 66 Sep 1 17:43 .selected_editor
drwxr-xr-x 4 ultimatebyte ultimatebyte 4096 Jan 29 22:26 serverfiles
drwxr-xr-x 3 ultimatebyte ultimatebyte 4096 Jan 15 01:40 .steam
drwxr-xr-x 8 ultimatebyte ultimatebyte 4096 Jan 29 22:26 Steam
drwxr-xr-x 5 ultimatebyte ultimatebyte 4096 Jan 29 22:24 steamcmd
-rwxr-x--- 1 ultimatebyte ultimatebyte 5691 Jan 30 01:14 twserver
-rw-r--r-- 1 ultimatebyte ultimatebyte 29 Jan 30 02:17 .tw-server.lock

All these commands require elevated privileges!

Change owner

Change owner from files or directories

Command

chown
As usual, chown --help will provide you with all available arguments

Single file syntax

chown newowner /path/to/file/or/directory

Recursive syntax (include sub files and directories)

chown -R newowner /path/to/directory

Example

chown -R myuser /home/myuser

Group ownership

Change group ownership on files or directories

Command

chgrp
As usual, chgrp --help will provide you with all available arguments

Single file syntax

chgrp newgroup /path/to/dir/or/file

Recursive syntax (include sub files and directories)

chgrp -R newgroup /path/to/dir/

User and group ownership

Change user and/or ownership for files and directories at the same time

Command

chown
As usual, chown --help will provide you with all available arguments

Single file command

chown user:group /path/to/dir/or/file

Recursive

chown -R user:group /path/to/dir

Example:

chown -R myuser:myuser /home/myuser
Last modified 4yr ago
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Outline
Introduction
Check current ownership
Check ownership in the current directory:
Check ownership from all files and hidden files of any directory
All these commands require elevated privileges!
Change owner
Command
Group ownership
Command
Single file syntax
Recursive syntax (include sub files and directories)
User and group ownership
Command
Single file command
Recursive