How to use chown command on Ubuntu Linux with examples

The chown command is used by system administrators to change the ownership of files and directories on Linux filesystems.

For new users and students looking for a Linux system to start learning on, the easiest place to start is Ubuntu Linux OS. It’s a great platform for beginners to start learning Linux.

Ubuntu is an open-source Linux operating system that runs on desktops, laptops, servers, and other devices.

About chown command:

The chown command is used by system administrators to change the ownership of files and directories on Linux filesystems. It allows superusers to change and restrict access to files and directories on Linux systems.

Like using your mouse and keyboard to add and remove users’ access from files and folders in the GUI. the chown is the way to do it on the command line.

Linux has three major groups to which you can apply permissions.


User –– These permissions apply to a single user who has special access to the file. This user is called the owner.
Group These apply to a single group of users who have access to the file. This group is the owning group.
Other These apply to every other user on the system. These users are known as others or the world.


When a file is created, the user automatically is assigned ownership of the file. and the group becomes the user’s default group.

Syntax:

The syntax is the rule and format of how the chown command can be used. the syntax’s options can be reordered. but a straight format must be followed.,.

Below is an example syntax of how to use the chown command.

chown [OPTION]. [OWNER][:[GROUP]] FILE.

Options:

The command line options are switches or flags that determined how the commands are executed or controlled. they modify the behavior of the command. they are separated by spaces and followed after the command’s options.

Below are some options for the chown command:

    FILE.Replace FILE. with the file, you want to change it ownership. If the file doesn’t already exist, the command will fail and not execute..
-c, –changesUse the -c or –changes option to report only when a change is made
-f, –silent, –quietUse the -f or –silent, –quiet to suppress most error messages
-R, –recursiveUse the -R or –recursive option to operate on files and directories recursively
-v, –verboseUse the -v or –verbose option to output a diagnostic for every file processed
-h, –helpdisplay this help message and exit

Examples:

Below are some examples of how to run and use the chown on Ubuntu Linux.

If you want to give John ownership of a file named Confidential, you run the commands below.

chown john Confidential

If you wish to make John the owner but make the private group owner, you run the commands below.

chown john:private Confidential

If you’re not logged in as a root account, you may have to use the sudo command it it.

sudo chown john:private Confidential

The commands above give John ownership but assign the private group as the group owner of the Confidential file. If access is granted to the private group, all members of that group will be able to access the Confidential file.

To change the ownership and group of an entire directory, including sub-directories, you add the -R option.

sudo chown -R john:private directories

In the example above, the chown command will give John user ownership but make the private group the group owner of directories.

When you run chown with the –help option, you’ll see the help text below:

Usage: chown [OPTION]. [OWNER][:[GROUP]] FILE.
  or:  chown [OPTION]. --reference=RFILE FILE.
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.

  -c, --changes          like verbose but report only when a change is made
  -f, --silent, --quiet  suppress most error messages
  -v, --verbose          output a diagnostic for every file processed

      --help     display this help and exit
      --version  output version information an

That’s it!

Hope you like it and please come back soon for more Ubuntu Linux commands!