mintCast Episode 21: File Permissions

Ontario [GNU] Linux Fest

The third annual Ontario [GNU] Linux Fest, sponsored by Google and IBM, will be held on Saturday, October 24, 2009 at the Days Hotel and Conference Centre Toronto Airport East in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

The Ontario Linux Fest is a non-profit event that brings together professionals, students, and enthusiasts who share an interest in Linux and Open Source software.

Joe ‘Zonker’ Brockmeier, long time FOSS advocate and openSUSE community manager, is the keynote speaker.

Last year 300 people attended, from as far away as Brazil.

Visit the website at, sign-up for the mailing list, or follow on Twitter at @OntarioLinux.

In this episode

Hannah Montana Linux

Ontario [GNU] Linux Fest

SCO lawsuit back on

Ubuntu releasing an App Store

New Ubuntu installer coming soon

Dell refutes Microsofts claims that Linux Netbooks get returned more than Windows Netbooks

Linux vs Windows 7 feature comparison

File Permissions

chmod Tutorial: Interactive commands and examples

chmod command using numbers

chown [-R] [[user]][:group] target1 [[target2 ..]]
chmod [options] mode[,mode] file1 [file2 …]
chgrp group target1 [target2 ..]

u user the owner of the file
g group users who are members of the file’s group
o others users who are not the owner of the file or members of the group
a all all three of the above, is the same as ugo
+ adds the specified modes to the specified classes
removes the specified modes from the specified classes
= the modes specified are to be made the exact modes for the specified classes
r read read a file or list a directory’s contents
w write write to a file or directory
x execute execute a file or recurse a directory tree
X special execute which is not a permission in itself but rather can be used instead of x. It applies execute permissions to directories regardless of their current permissions and applies execute permissions to a file which already has at least 1 execute permission bit already set (either user, group or other). It is only really useful when used with ‘+’ and usually in combination with the -R option for giving group or other access to a big directory tree without setting execute permission on normal files (such as text files), which would normally happen if you just used “chmod -R a+rx .”, whereas with ‘X’ you can do “chmod -R a+rX .” instead
s setuid/gid details in Special modes section
t sticky details in Special modes section

Web site of the week

The Linux Experiment


10 Free Linux ebooks For Beginners

More info

Hosts: Charles, Rothgar
Subscribe to the podcast: [iTunes] [Zune] [RSS MP3] [RSS OGG]
Contact podcast:

Email: [email protected]
Phone: 1-832-514-2278
Twitter: @mintCast @Rothgar @Linux_Mint
More info:
Linux Mint website, blog, forums

12 Replies to “mintCast Episode 21: File Permissions”

  1. LinuxDruid

    Great episode guys keep up the good work. Really glad you posted that link to OMGUbuntu… Its a great blog site and much better then what I usually read TuxArena. It has alot of atricles on stuff I never knew about.

    What do you guys think of this Ubuntu App Store… seems to me that Canonical is dedicated into turning Ubuntu into a Windows clone. Some of the comments left on that articel were ridiculous. People just cant seem to except the fact that Linux is not Windows and shouldnt be made into a windows clone. i mean if you like Windows so much why even use Linux thats my stand on it. They already make a OS thats like Windows and guess what its called Windows.

    People just want to be able to have a OS that is Virus free and more stable than Windows and free but they dont want to take the time to learn how to use Linux. So they keep trying to force developers to make Linux like Windows to make there lives easier. As I said in my comment over there if you want Linux to be like Windows then learn how to code and make your own distro instead of pressuring people into changing Linux into Windows. People are just down right lazy in todays world. And everybody has been spoon fed Windows for so long that they go into other Os’s with the expectation that its going to be just like Windows. But the simple truth is that Linux would have never been created if people just wanted to use Windows.

    Its common sense but it seems alot of people are lacking just that. I personally am pretty new to Linux and have only been using it for 5 or 6 months now. But you wanna know what? I took the time to learn it and do so everyday. Why? because I was sick and tired of dealing with Windows and all its issues, as well as having to pay for it.

    I didnt come to Linux expecting a Windows clone, and when I installed it and saw that I had to learn a few things in order to get the most out of it, thats just what I did. I didnt start commenting on forums on how developers need to make Linux more like Windows. If i wanted Windows I would have never made the switch!!!

    And lets face it, yes there is a learning curve, but that applies to anyting. And lets face this too, Windows is not the most user friendly OS in the world, in fact I believe people who have never used a computer in their life would find Linux more easy. People are just brainwashed into thinking that everytihng should act like Windwos. MS has done a great job at making people think Windows is the standard. When in fact it is riddled with problems and is just downright stupid in some ways.

    Another thing I say is this, have you ever done a fresh intsall of Windows? MOst havent and this is were the working out of the box myth comes from. Try installing Windows fresh and I guarantee you have to hunt down drivers for at least a few pieces of hardware.

    Anyways this is just my attempt at helping people to see that Windows should be Windows and Linux should be Linux and people should use what they like better. And they shouldnt try and persuade developers to make Linux into a Windows clone.

  2. Lejoni

    I do not know how long ago you had the problem with installing Ubuntu/Mint with the main users home folder pre-excisting.
    But I have never had any problem with this. sometimes I have needed to chown my old home folder to get the premissions right but the installation have never failed in Ubuntu or Mint cus of my preexcisting home folder.

    Also I wonder how it comes that the body of your cast now don’t have the same quality as before. The head and tail of the cast that has been the same for a long time is still as clear sounding as before but the body of the lastest cast was very burky/muffled.

    • SiKing

      You’re right. Just tried it now and the install passes. It’s creation of a user that fails with the home directory pre-existing, and I guess I just assumed that the installer is using the same mechanism.
      Apologies for any inconvenience.

      • SiKing

        If you listen to EP22, I repeat the same warning about the installer failing. I would like to clarify that: it will fail IF the home directory already exists AND the UID does not match what it was previously.

  3. Micah

    Great show this week! I really enjoyed the fact that you decided to tackle a more technical aspect of linux. Command line functionality is a huge stepping stone for non IT Windows converts. Sadly, the sound quality was very poor and I had trouble understanding Rothgar about 15% of the time.

    On a side note Charles –> I finally took the next step and installed Slackware on a spare machine. Text install was intimidating, but that paled in comparison to trying to install software and updates once I was up and running. It took me 30 minutes just to figure out I needed to “startX”.

    Thank all that is good for Clem and the community!

    Thanks again,


    • Rothgar

      Sorry about the sound quality. This was the first time we tried out Talkshoe for recording. It also didn’t help that my Audacity froze about 20 minutes in and I never noticed till the end. We are working to find a better solution for easy recording and good quality.

  4. Alan

    Great show; one of my regular walking accompanyments. Wierd sound quality this time, but you did explain it all above.

    What do I think you should discuss?

    One of my main gripes about Windows is less to do with its attributes as an OS, rather, its the way in which Microsoft agressively market it, price it, and protect it. The way they have managed to overwhelmingly control the market for OSs, office suites and browsers despite the many shortcomings and bugginess of their products. These are the reasons I have moved to Linux, lets face it these days realistically, XP XP3 works reliably.

    I am annoyed that the #1 MP3 player has no decent Linux application to drive it properly, that Google’s Picasa debian version is inferior to the windows version and for many users the look and feel of installed apps like Firefox is inferior to that acheived in XP.

    I am annoyed that when I go to an office supply store I am presented with dozens of varying form factors and qualities yet they’re mostly all running Windows and the only Linux offering is usually a $200 toy with a tiny screen.

    In summary therefore, discussions about how to get linux beyond the converted folks listening to the show and how to achieve a desktop which is truly appealing to the bulk of users. Having something of the quaility of Openoffice in each programming niche would be wonderful but the volunteer community effort of much of the market might be working against all that. I’d like to understand whether the Android OS might be addressing this issue as well.

  5. Anthony

    Good podcast, but sound quality was awful this week.

    You asked for feedback on listeners…

    I guess I could be described as a computer hobbiest, so I like to experiment with new OS’s and software.

    Why do I listen, well simply because you bring up things I never would have thought of. New sites to look at, new software to try etc.

    What would I like to hear? Comparisons of different linux distro’s, comparisons of different software e.g. OpenOffice vs IBM’s Symphony. Comparisons of web browsers, email clients etc.

    Keep up the good work.

    • Anthony

      Further to the above, if it wasn’t for you guys updating your site to use WordPress, then I would probably would never have found out about it.

      After researching it further, WordPress is now the basis for my own business website –

      Thanks again!

  6. SiKing

    # If you move/copy file from an NTFS disk to a UNIX-type disk you will end up with
    # execute permissions on everything, most of the time you will end up with 777
    # permissions. This script will change the permissions to something more sane, the
    # most you will end up with is 660 permissions.

    # verify write permissions of target
    if [[ ! -w “$1” ]]; then
    echo $(basename $0) ERROR: no write permissions at $1
    exit 1

    # turn off all permission for others
    chmod -R o-rwx “$1”

    # turn off execute permissions just for file(s)
    if [[ -d “$1” ]]; then
    find “$1” -type f -execdir chmod a-x {} +
    elif [[ -f “$1” ]]; then
    chmod a-x “$1”

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