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chown, chgrp and chomd --- extra features and functionality

Posted on 1997-08-15
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Last Modified: 2010-04-22
Besides the usual functions that chown , chgrp and chmod can perform (which is mentioned in man pages), is there any other hidden features and functions of the 3 commands mentioned above. (eg. history, sercurity, etc.)
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Question by:mwche2
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by:ahoffmann
ID: 2006652
Depends on the flavour of your UNIX, some don't describe that you can change owner and group with one call: just by calling chown.

To answer your question in details, one need to know what your man pages say about those commands.
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by:bombadil
ID: 2006653
Which OS?
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by:mwche2
ID: 2006654
All flavours of UNIX (Linux, Ultrixs, Solaris, BSD, System V(s), etc)
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by:n0thing
ID: 2006655
No ... I haven't seen any hidden feature in those commands for
AIX, Linux, Solaris, SunOS 4.1.X. If you're looking for security
holes in those command, you won't find one.


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by:ragnar
ID: 2006656
You might note that chmod has a -a flag for use on systems with ACL priveledges.  this flag makes it so that cown does not overrrite ACL's.

your question is extremely general.  possibly you are looking for a specific feature?  don't be surprised if no one can really help you on this, given the vagueness.
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by:mwche2
ID: 2006657
Probably it'll be interesting to know about the possible implications of these commands, such as for breaching security holes, Trojan horses and hacking.
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by:bombadil
ID: 2006658
Given that, the answer is "no".
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wex earned 100 total points
ID: 2006659
My bet is that you're looking for the so-called "sticky" bits.  You can set these bits on files/executables (e.g. chmod +s <file>) and when they're used they will retain the identity and permissions of the file *creator* not of the file *user*.

In fact, this is one of the biggest security problems with UNIXen since programs are often set to run as user root when they have no need to do so.

I use the sticky bit for group work (mode g+s) so that everyone in my workgroup can read/write a common set of data files.
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