Understanding File Systems and File Permissions in Linux

In Linux, understanding file systems and file permissions is crucial for effective system management and security. In this tutorial, we'll explore the basics of Linux file systems, including ext4, and delve into file permissions, ownership, and access control.

1. Linux File Systems

Linux supports various file systems, with ext4 being the most commonly used. Here's an overview:

  • Ext4: The default file system for most Linux distributions. Known for its reliability and performance.
  • XFS: High-performance file system suitable for large-scale deployments.
  • Btrfs: Modern file system with features like snapshots and built-in RAID support.

2. File Permissions

Linux uses a permission system to regulate access to files and directories. Permissions are represented by three sets of characters:

  • User (Owner): The owner of the file or directory, with permissions to read, write, and execute.
  • Group: Users belonging to the group associated with the file or directory, with similar permissions to the owner.
  • Others: All other users on the system, with permissions defined separately.

3. Changing File Permissions

You can change file permissions using the 'chmod' command. Here are some examples:

chmod u+x file.txt        # Add execute permission for the owner
chmod g-w file.txt        # Remove write permission for the group
chmod o=r file.txt        # Set read-only permission for others

4. Changing File Ownership

The 'chown' command is used to change file ownership. Example:

chown user:group file.txt

5. Access Control Lists (ACLs)

ACLs provide finer-grained access control beyond traditional Unix permissions. Example:

setfacl -m u:user:rw file.txt


Understanding file systems and file permissions in Linux is essential for managing files and directories effectively while ensuring system security. With the knowledge gained from this tutorial, you'll be better equipped to navigate and administer your Linux system.

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