CHOWN(1) User Commands CHOWN(1)
chown - change file owner and group
chown [OPTION]... [OWNER][:[GROUP]] FILE...
chown [OPTION]... --reference=RFILE FILE...
This manual page documents the GNU version of chown. chown 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, chown performs
the same function as chgrp. 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.
like verbose but report only when a change is made
-f, --silent, --quiet
suppress most error messages
output a diagnostic for every file processed
affect the referent of each symbolic link (this is the default), rather than the
symbolic link itself
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
operate on files and directories recursively
The following options modify how a hierarchy is traversed when the -R option is also spec-
ified. If more than one is specified, only the final one takes effect.
-H if a command line argument is a symbolic link to a directory, traverse it
-L traverse every symbolic link to a directory encountered
-P do not traverse any symbolic links (default)
--help 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
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".
GNU coreutils online help: <http://www.gnu.org/software/coreutils/> Report chown transla-
tion bugs to <http://translationproject.org/team/>
Written by David MacKenzie and Jim Meyering.
Copyright (C) 2013 Free Software Foundation, Inc. License GPLv3+: GNU GPL version 3 or
This is free software: you are free to change and redistribute it. There is NO WARRANTY,
to the extent permitted by law.
The full documentation for chown is maintained as a Texinfo manual. If the info and chown
programs are properly installed at your site, the command
info coreutils 'chown invocation'
should give you access to the complete manual.
GNU coreutils 8.22 June 2014 CHOWN(1)