chown - change file owner and group


chown [-fhv] [-R [-H | -L | -P]] owner[:group] file ...
chown [-fhv] [-R [-H | -L | -P]] :group file ...


The chown utility changes the user ID and/or the group ID of
the specified files. Symbolic links named by arguments are silently
unchanged unless -h is used.
The options are as follows:
-H If the -R option is specified, symbolic links on the
command line
are followed. (Symbolic links encountered in the
tree traversal
are not followed.)
-L If the -R option is specified, all symbolic links
are followed.
-P If the -R option is specified, no symbolic links are
This is the default.
-R Change the user ID and/or the group ID of the speci
fied directory
trees (recursively, including their contents) and
files. Beware
of unintentionally matching the ``..'' hard link to
the parent
directory when using wildcards like ``.*''.
-f Do not report any failure to change file owner or
group, nor mod
ify the exit status to reflect such failures.
-h If the file is a symbolic link, change the user ID
and/or the
group ID of the link itself.
-v Cause chown to be verbose, showing files as the own
er is modi
fied. If the -v flag is specified more than once,
chown will
print the filename, followed by the old and new nu
user/group ID.
The -H, -L and -P options are ignored unless the -R option
is specified.
In addition, these options override each other and the com
mand's actions
are determined by the last one specified.
The owner and group operands are both optional, however, one
must be
specified. If the group operand is specified, it must be
preceded by a
colon (``:'') character.
The owner may be either a numeric user ID or a user name.
If a user name
is also a numeric user ID, the operand is used as a user
name. The group
may be either a numeric group ID or a group name. If a
group name is
also a numeric group ID, the operand is used as a group
The ownership of a file may only be altered by a super-user
for obvious
security reasons.


Previous versions of the chown utility used the dot (``.'')
character to
distinguish the group name. This has been changed to be a
colon (``:'')
character so that user and group names may contain the dot
On previous versions of this system, symbolic links did not
have owners.
The -v option is non-standard and its use in scripts is not


chgrp(1), find(1), chown(2), fts(3), symlink(7)


The chown utility is expected to be IEEE Std 1003.2
(``POSIX.2'') compliant.


A chown utility appeared in Version 1 AT&T UNIX.
BSD April 25, 2003
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