Section: User Commands (1)
Updated: October 2015
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chown - change file owner and group
[OPTION]... [OWNER][:[GROUP]] FILE...
[OPTION]... --reference=RFILE FILE...
This manual page
documents the GNU version of
changes the user and/or group ownership of each given file. If
only an owner (a user name or numeric user ID) is given, that user is made the
owner of each given file, and the files' group is not changed. If the
owner is followed by a colon and a group name (or numeric group ID),
with no spaces between them, the group ownership of the files is
changed as well. If a colon but no group name follows the user name,
that user is made the owner of the files and the group of the files is
changed to that user's login group. If the colon and group are given,
but the owner is omitted, only the group of the files is changed;
in this case,
performs the same function as
If only a colon is given, or if the entire operand is empty, neither the
owner nor the group is changed.
Change the owner and/or group of each FILE to OWNER and/or GROUP.
With --reference, change the owner and group of each FILE to those of RFILE.
- -c, --changes
like verbose but report only when a change is made
- -f, --silent, --quiet
suppress most error messages
- -v, --verbose
output a diagnostic for every file processed
affect the referent of each symbolic link (this is
the default), rather than the symbolic link itself
- -h, --no-dereference
affect symbolic links instead of any referenced file
(useful only on systems that can change the
ownership of a symlink)
change the owner and/or group of each file only if
its current owner and/or group match those specified
here. Either may be omitted, in which case a match
is not required for the omitted attribute
do not treat '/' specially (the default)
fail to operate recursively on '/'
use RFILE's owner and group rather than
specifying OWNER:GROUP values
- -R, --recursive
operate on files and directories recursively
The following options modify how a hierarchy is traversed when the -R
option is also specified. If more than one is specified, only the final
one takes effect.
if a command line argument is a symbolic link
to a directory, traverse it
traverse every symbolic link to a directory
do not traverse any symbolic links (default)
display this help and exit
output version information and exit
Owner is unchanged if missing. Group is unchanged if missing, but changed
to login group if implied by a ':' following a symbolic OWNER.
OWNER and GROUP may be numeric as well as symbolic.
- chown root /u
Change the owner of /u to "root".
- chown root:staff /u
Likewise, but also change its group to "staff".
- chown -hR root /u
Change the owner of /u and subfiles to "root".
Written by David MacKenzie and Jim Meyering.
GNU coreutils online help: <http://www.gnu.org/software/coreutils/>
Report chown translation bugs to <http://translationproject.org/team/>
Copyright © 2014 Free Software Foundation, Inc.
License GPLv3+: GNU GPL version 3 or later <http://gnu.org/licenses/gpl.html>.
This is free software: you are free to change and redistribute it.
There is NO WARRANTY, to the extent permitted by law.
Full documentation at: <http://www.gnu.org/software/coreutils/chown>
or available locally via: info '(coreutils) chown invocation'
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