We help IT Professionals succeed at work.

Difference between ACL and Extended attributes

Mark asked
Last Modified: 2014-10-21
What is the difference between Access Control List (getfacl/setfacl) and Extended Attributes (getfattr/setfattr)?

As I understand it, tar does not preserve either (if they are different). If I want to save such attributes, do I need to run both getfacl and getfattr?
Watch Question

application manager
This one is on us!
(Get your first solution completely free - no credit card required)


Folks - I've reinstalled the whole system from scratch and am trying to get back to the place where I have ACLs set. Will return to this question when that mission is accomplished.


Sorry, just now have my system back to where I started this question.

As you (Surrano) stated, I have determined that acl and attr as not the same. the getfacl dump has entries of the format:
# file: redirectedFolders//Users/mark/My Documents

Open in new window

Restoring the acls does not restore the attrs and restoring attrs does not restore acls. Therefore, I will have to save and restore both of these attributes if I want to have a complete backup.

My standard GNU tar does not have either --acls or --xattrs. rsync does not appear to be able to copy to an archive. I don't want to add a non-standard tar or a 3rd party backup tool that might confuse a subsequent user, especially if restoring to a vanilla system that does not have such a tool installed. Therefore, I'll first create the special attribute backup files:

getfattr -dR /redirectedFolders /var/lib/samba/sysvol/hprs.local/Policies >/backupATTR.txt
getfacl -R /redirectedFolders /var/lib/samba/sysvol/hprs.local/Policies/ > /backupACL.txt

and the regular tar volume backup will snag these into the archive. The restorer will have to remember to --restore these files if these special directories are ever restored.

Actually, I'm quite surprised that none of the Samba4 documentation on redirected folders (that I've found) mentions this.

Gain unlimited access to on-demand training courses with an Experts Exchange subscription.

Get Access
Why Experts Exchange?

Experts Exchange always has the answer, or at the least points me in the correct direction! It is like having another employee that is extremely experienced.

Jim Murphy
Programmer at Smart IT Solutions

When asked, what has been your best career decision?

Deciding to stick with EE.

Mohamed Asif
Technical Department Head

Being involved with EE helped me to grow personally and professionally.

Carl Webster
CTP, Sr Infrastructure Consultant
Empower Your Career
Did You Know?

We've partnered with two important charities to provide clean water and computer science education to those who need it most. READ MORE

Ask ANY Question

Connect with Certified Experts to gain insight and support on specific technology challenges including:

  • Troubleshooting
  • Research
  • Professional Opinions
Unlock the solution to this question.
Join our community and discover your potential

Experts Exchange is the only place where you can interact directly with leading experts in the technology field. Become a member today and access the collective knowledge of thousands of technology experts.

*This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.


Please enter a first name

Please enter a last name

8+ characters (letters, numbers, and a symbol)

By clicking, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.