Manpage of CHOWN

CHOWN

Section: Linux Programmer's Manual (2)
Updated: 2016-03-15
Index
 

NAME

chown, fchown, lchown, fchownat - change ownership of a file  

SYNOPSIS

#include <unistd.h>int chown(const char *pathname, uid_t owner, gid_t group);
int fchown(int fd, uid_t owner, gid_t group);
int lchown(const char *pathname, uid_t owner, gid_t group);#include <fcntl.h> /* Definition of AT_* constants */ #include <unistd.h>int fchownat(int dirfd, const char *pathname, uid_t owner, gid_t group, int flags);

Feature Test Macro Requirements for glibc (see feature_test_macros(7)):

fchown(), lchown():

/* Since glibc 2.12: */ _POSIX_C_SOURCE >= 200809L
    || _XOPEN_SOURCE >= 500
    || /* Glibc versions <= 2.19: */ _BSD_SOURCE

fchownat():

Since glibc 2.10:
_POSIX_C_SOURCE >= 200809L
Before glibc 2.10:
_ATFILE_SOURCE
 

DESCRIPTION

These system calls change the owner and group of a file. The chown(), fchown(), and lchown() system calls differ only in how the file is specified:
*
chown() changes the ownership of the file specified by pathname, which is dereferenced if it is a symbolic link.
*
fchown() changes the ownership of the file referred to by the open file descriptor fd.
*
lchown() is like chown(), but does not dereference symbolic links.

Only a privileged process (Linux: one with the CAP_CHOWNcapability) may change the owner of a file. The owner of a file may change the group of the file to any group of which that owner is a member. A privileged process (Linux: with CAP_CHOWN) may change the group arbitrarily.

If the owneror groupis specified as -1, then that ID is not changed.

When the owner or group of an executable file is changed by an unprivileged user, the S_ISUIDand S_ISGIDmode bits are cleared. POSIX does not specify whether this also should happen when root does the chown(); the Linux behavior depends on the kernel version. In case of a non-group-executable file (i.e., one for which the S_IXGRPbit is not set) the S_ISGIDbit indicates mandatory locking, and is not cleared by a chown().  

fchownat()

The fchownat() system call operates in exactly the same way as chown(), except for the differences described here.

If the pathname given in pathnameis relative, then it is interpreted relative to the directory referred to by the file descriptor dirfd(rather than relative to the current working directory of the calling process, as is done by chown() for a relative pathname).

If pathnameis relative and dirfdis the special value AT_FDCWD, then pathnameis interpreted relative to the current working directory of the calling process (like chown()).

If pathnameis absolute, then dirfdis ignored.

The flagsargument is a bit mask created by ORing together 0 or more of the following values;

AT_EMPTY_PATH (since Linux 2.6.39)
If pathnameis an empty string, operate on the file referred to by dirfd(which may have been obtained using the open(2) O_PATHflag). In this case, dirfdcan refer to any type of file, not just a directory. If dirfdis AT_FDCWD, the call operates on the current working directory. This flag is Linux-specific; define _GNU_SOURCEto obtain its definition.
AT_SYMLINK_NOFOLLOW
If pathnameis a symbolic link, do not dereference it: instead operate on the link itself, like lchown(). (By default, fchownat() dereferences symbolic links, like chown().)

See openat(2) for an explanation of the need for fchownat().  

RETURN VALUE

On success, zero is returned. On error, -1 is returned, and errnois set appropriately.  

ERRORS

Depending on the filesystem, errors other than those listed below can be returned.

The more general errors for chown() are listed below.

EACCES
Search permission is denied on a component of the path prefix. (See also path_resolution(7).)
EFAULT
pathnamepoints outside your accessible address space.
ELOOP
Too many symbolic links were encountered in resolving pathname.
ENAMETOOLONG
pathnameis too long.
ENOENT
The file does not exist.
ENOMEM
Insufficient kernel memory was available.
ENOTDIR
A component of the path prefix is not a directory.
EPERM
The calling process did not have the required permissions (see above) to change owner and/or group.
EROFS
The named file resides on a read-only filesystem.

The general errors for fchown() are listed below:

EBADF
fdis not a valid open file descriptor.
EIO
A low-level I/O error occurred while modifying the inode.
ENOENT
See above.
EPERM
See above.
EROFS
See above.

The same errors that occur for chown() can also occur for fchownat(). The following additional errors can occur for fchownat():

EBADF
dirfdis not a valid file descriptor.
EINVAL
Invalid flag specified in flags.
ENOTDIR
pathnameis relative and dirfdis a file descriptor referring to a file other than a directory.
 

VERSIONS

fchownat() was added to Linux in kernel 2.6.16; library support was added to glibc in version 2.4.  

CONFORMING TO

chown(), fchown(), lchown(): 4.4BSD, SVr4, POSIX.1-2001, POSIX.1-2008.

The 4.4BSD version can be used only by the superuser (that is, ordinary users cannot give away files).

fchownat(): POSIX.1-2008.  

NOTES

 

Ownership of new files

When a new file is created (by, for example, open(2) or mkdir(2)), its owner is made the same as the filesystem user ID of the creating process. The group of the file depends on a range of factors, including the type of filesystem, the options used to mount the filesystem, and whether or not the set-group-ID mode bit is enabled on the parent directory. If the filesystem supports the -o grpid(or, synonymously -o bsdgroups) and -o nogrpid(or, synonymously -o sysvgroups) mount(8) options, then the rules are as follows:
*
If the filesystem is mounted with -o grpid, then the group of a new file is made the same as that of the parent directory.
*
If the filesystem is mounted with -o nogrpidand the set-group-ID bit is disabled on the parent directory, then the group of a new file is made the same as the process's filesystem GID.
*
If the filesystem is mounted with -o nogrpidand the set-group-ID bit is enabled on the parent directory, then the group of a new file is made the same as that of the parent directory.

As at Linux 2.6.25, the -o grpidand -o nogrpidmount options are supported by ext2, ext3, ext4, and XFS. Filesystems that don't support these mount options follow the -o nogrpidrules.  

Glibc notes

On older kernels where fchownat() is unavailable, the glibc wrapper function falls back to the use of chown() and lchown(). When pathnameis a relative pathname, glibc constructs a pathname based on the symbolic link in /proc/self/fdthat corresponds to the dirfdargument.  

NFS

The chown() semantics are deliberately violated on NFS filesystems which have UID mapping enabled. Additionally, the semantics of all system calls which access the file contents are violated, because chown() may cause immediate access revocation on already open files. Client side caching may lead to a delay between the time where ownership have been changed to allow access for a user and the time where the file can actually be accessed by the user on other clients.  

Historical details

The original Linux chown(), fchown(), and lchown() system calls supported only 16-bit user and group IDs. Subsequently, Linux 2.4 added chown32(), fchown32(), and lchown32(), supporting 32-bit IDs. The glibc chown(), fchown(), and lchown() wrapper functions transparently deal with the variations across kernel versions.

In versions of Linux prior to 2.1.81 (and distinct from 2.1.46), chown() did not follow symbolic links. Since Linux 2.1.81, chown() does follow symbolic links, and there is a new system call lchown() that does not follow symbolic links. Since Linux 2.1.86, this new call (that has the same semantics as the old chown()) has got the same syscall number, and chown() got the newly introduced number.  

EXAMPLE

The following program changes the ownership of the file named in its second command-line argument to the value specified in its first command-line argument. The new owner can be specified either as a numeric user ID, or as a username (which is converted to a user ID by using getpwnam(3) to perform a lookup in the system password file).  

Program source

#include <pwd.h>
#include <stdio.h>
#include <stdlib.h>
#include <unistd.h>

int
main(int argc, char *argv[])
{
    uid_t uid;
    struct passwd *pwd;
    char *endptr;

    if (argc != 3 || argv[1][0] == aq\0aq) {
        fprintf(stderr, "%s <owner> <file>\n", argv[0]);
        exit(EXIT_FAILURE);
    }

    uid = strtol(argv[1], &endptr, 10);  /* Allow a numeric string */

    if (*endptr != aq\0aq) {         /* Was not pure numeric string */
        pwd = getpwnam(argv[1]);   /* Try getting UID for username */
        if (pwd == NULL) {
            perror("getpwnam");
            exit(EXIT_FAILURE);
        }

        uid = pwd->pw_uid;
    }

    if (chown(argv[2], uid, -1) == -1) {
        perror("chown");
        exit(EXIT_FAILURE);
    }

    exit(EXIT_SUCCESS);
}
 

SEE ALSO

chmod(2), flock(2), path_resolution(7), symlink(7)


 

Index

NAME
SYNOPSIS
DESCRIPTION
fchownat()
RETURN VALUE
ERRORS
VERSIONS
CONFORMING TO
NOTES
Ownership of new files
Glibc notes
NFS
Historical details
EXAMPLE
Program source
SEE ALSO

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Time: 22:27:44 GMT, June 20, 2016