CHMOD(1) User Commands CHMOD(1)
chmod - change file access permissions
chmod [OPTION]... MODE[,MODE]... FILE...
chmod [OPTION]... OCTAL-MODE FILE...
chmod [OPTION]... --reference=RFILE FILE...
This manual page documents the GNU version of chmod. chmod changes the
permissions of each given file according to mode, which can be either a
symbolic representation of changes to make, or an octal number repre-
senting the bit pattern for the new permissions.
The format of a symbolic mode is ‘[ugoa...][[+-=][rwxXs-
tugo...]...][,...]’. Multiple symbolic operations can be given, sepa-
rated by commas.
A combination of the letters ‘ugoa’ controls which users’ access to the
file will be changed: the user who owns it (u), other users in the
file’s group (g), other users not in the file’s group (o), or all users
(a). If none of these are given, the effect is as if ‘a’ were given,
but bits that are set in the umask are not affected.
The operator ‘+’ causes the permissions selected to be added to the
existing permissions of each file; ‘-’ causes them to be removed; and
‘=’ causes them to be the only permissions that the file has.
The letters ‘rwxXstugo’ select the new permissions for the affected
users: read (r), write (w), execute (or access for directories) (x),
execute only if the file is a directory or already has execute permis-
sion for some user (X), set user or group ID on execution (s), sticky
(t), the permissions granted to the user who owns the file (u), the
permissions granted to other users who are members of the file’s group
(g), and the permissions granted to users that are in neither of the
two preceding categories (o).
A numeric mode is from one to four octal digits (0-7), derived by
adding up the bits with values 4, 2, and 1. Any omitted digits are
assumed to be leading zeros. The first digit selects the set user ID
(4) and set group ID (2) and sticky (1) attributes. The second digit
selects permissions for the user who owns the file: read (4), write
(2), and execute (1); the third selects permissions for other users in
the file’s group, with the same values; and the fourth for other users
not in the file’s group, with the same values.
chmod never changes the permissions of symbolic links; the chmod system
call cannot change their permissions. This is not a problem since the
permissions of symbolic links are never used. However, for each sym-
bolic link listed on the command line, chmod changes the permissions of
the pointed-to file. In contrast, chmod ignores symbolic links encoun-
tered during recursive directory traversals.
On older Unix systems, the sticky bit caused executable files to be
hoarded in swap space. This feature is not useful on modern VM sys-
tems, and the Linux kernel ignores the sticky bit on files. Other ker-
nels may use the sticky bit on files for system-defined purposes. On
some systems, only the superuser can set the sticky bit on files.
When the sticky bit is set on a directory, files in that directory may
be unlinked or renamed only by root or their owner. Without the sticky
bit, anyone able to write to the directory can delete or rename files.
The sticky bit is commonly found on directories, such as /tmp, that are
Change the mode of each FILE to MODE.
like verbose but report only when a change is made
do not treat ‘/’ specially (the default)
fail to operate recursively on ‘/’
-f, --silent, --quiet
suppress most error messages
output a diagnostic for every file processed
use RFILE’s mode instead of MODE values
change files and directories recursively
--help display this help and exit
output version information and exit
Each MODE is one or more of the letters ugoa, one of the symbols +-=
and one or more of the letters rwxXstugo.
Written by David MacKenzie and Jim Meyering.
Report bugs to <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
Copyright © 2004 Free Software Foundation, Inc.
This is free software; see the source for copying conditions. There is
NO warranty; not even for MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR
The full documentation for chmod is maintained as a Texinfo manual. If
the info and chmod programs are properly installed at your site, the
info coreutils chmod
should give you access to the complete manual.
chmod (coreutils) 5.2.1 July 2005 CHMOD(1)
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