Changing Permissions (
In general, the
chmod command take the form:
chmod [options] permissions filename. If no options are specified, it modifies the permissions of the file to the permissions specified by permissions.
The permissions string is specified with user category (user, group, other or all), and an operator to add, substract or set permissions, followed by the permissions themself, Read, Write or Execute.
|User Category||ugoa||User category: user, group, other, all|
|Operator||+-=||Add, substract or set permissions|
|Permission||rwx||Read, Write, Execute|
To add the write permission to the group of test.txt file.
$ chmod g+w test.txt $ ls -l test.txt -rw-rw-r--@ 1 robin staff 411 16 Sep 22:50 test.txt
To remove write permission from the group of test.txt file.
$ chmod g-w test.txt $ ls -l test.txt -rw-r--r--@ 1 robin staff 411 16 Sep 22:50 test.txt
To change more than one permissions at a time, for example to add write and execute:
$ chmod g+wx test.txt $ ls -l test.txt -rw-rwxr--@ 1 robin staff 411 16 Sep 22:50 test.txt
You can use commas (
, ) to seperate the permissions specifications for different user categories. For example, for u and g categories:
$ chmod u+rwx,g-w test.txt $ ls -l test.txt -rwxr--r--@ 1 robin staff 411 16 Sep 22:50 test.txt
Octal or Numeric Based Permissions
In addition to symbolic mode, octal mode or numeric mode can be used with
chmod to set file and directory permissions.
In octal mode, permissions are based in binary. Each permission type is treated as a bit that
either set to off 0 or on 1. And in permissions, order has meaning and so permissions are always in Read , Write , and Execute order. So, if
x are all set to off, the binary representation is 000.
|0||0||0||Value for off|
|1||1||1||Binary value for on|
|4||2||1||Base 10 or decimal value for on|
The permissions number is determined by adding up all the values for each permission type. There are 8 possible values from 0 to 7, hence the name octal mode. Below is the list of all possible options.
|3||11||-wx||Write and execute (2+1)|
|5||101||r-x||Read and execute (4+1)|
|6||110||rw-||Read and write (4+2)|
|7||111||rwx||Read, write, and execute (4+2+1)|
The user categories are always in User, Group and Other order. Therefore, once you determine the octal value for each category, you specify them in that order.For example:
x for User,
x for Group, and just
r for Other:
You would specify
chmod 754 filename.
Commonly Used Permissions
|-rwx------||700||A file can be read, edited and executed by owner, and no one else on the system will have access to that file.|
|-rwxr-xr-x||755||Allows everyone on the system to execute the file. But only the user or the owner of the file can edit it.|
|-rw-rw-r--||664||Allows a group of people to modify the file and let others read it.|
|-rw-rw----||660||Allows a group of people to modify the file and not let other read it.|
|-rw-r--r--||644||Allows everyone on the system to read the file. But only the user or the owner of that file can edit it.|
Important: In general, it is good to avoid the 777 and 666 permisson modes. The 777 gives everyone full access to that file and the 666 gives everyone the Write permissions, they could cause unnecessary trouble. If you tempt to use the 777 or 666 for permissions, you need to check if there is a better way to do that.
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