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OSX 10.6.2 - man page for chown (osx section 2)

CHOWN(2)						      BSD System Calls Manual							  CHOWN(2)

chown, fchown, lchown -- change owner and group of a file
#include <unistd.h> int chown(const char *path, uid_t owner, gid_t group); int fchown(int fildes, uid_t owner, gid_t group); int lchown(const char *path, uid_t owner, gid_t group);
The owner ID and group ID of the file named by path or referenced by fildes is changed as specified by the arguments owner and group. The owner of a file may change the group to a group of which he or she is a member, but the change owner capability is restricted to the super- user. The chown() system call clears the set-user-id and set-group-id bits on the file to prevent accidental or mischievous creation of set-user-id and set-group-id programs if not executed by the super-user. The chown() system call follows symbolic links to operate on the target of the link rather than the link itself. The fchown() system call is particularly useful when used in conjunction with the file locking primitives (see flock(2)). The lchown() system call is similar to chown() but does not follow symbolic links. One of the owner or group id's may be left unchanged by specifying it as -1.
Upon successful completion, the value 0 is returned; otherwise the value -1 is returned and the global variable errno is set to indicate the error.
The chown() and lchown() system calls will fail if: [EACCES] Search permission is denied for a component of the path prefix. [EFAULT] The path argument points outside the process's allocated address space. [ELOOP] Too many symbolic links are encountered in translating the pathname. This is taken to be indicative of a looping symbolic link. [ENAMETOOLONG] A component of a pathname exceeded 255 characters, or an entire path name exceeded 1023 characters. [ENOENT] A component of path does not exist. [ENOTDIR] A component of the path prefix is not a directory. The fchown() system call will fail if: [EBADF] The fildes argument does not refer to a valid descriptor. [EINVAL] The fildes argument refers to a socket, not a file. Any of these calls will fail if: [EINTR] Its execution is interrupted by a signal. [EIO] An I/O error occurs while reading from or writing to the file system. [EPERM] The effective user ID does not match the owner of the file and the calling process does not have appropriate (i.e., root) privileges. [EROFS] The named file resides on a read-only file system.
chgrp(1), chmod(2), flock(2), chown(8)
The chown() system call is expected to conform to ISO/IEC 9945-1:1990 (``POSIX.1'').
The chown() function appeared in Version 7 AT&T UNIX. The fchown() system call appeared in 4.2BSD. The chown() and fchown() system calls were changed to follow symbolic links in 4.4BSD. The lchown() system call was added in FreeBSD 3.0 to compensate for the loss of functionality.
April 19, 1994 BSD