Unix & Linux Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for users of Linux, FreeBSD and other Un*x-like operating systems. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Is there a command to display a list of users who modified a file providing a file history?

I know that possible with svn/git etc.. but we have a config file that is not in SVN and someone modified it.

share|improve this question
up vote 8 down vote accepted

If you have not previously enabled some sort of auditing, there is not a tool that can report this after the file has been modified. You can get the date and time of when the file was last modified, but not a revision history.

Moving forward, you could install, setup, enable the auditd package.

From the auditctl man page:

-w path
    Insert  a  watch for the file system object at path. You cannot insert
    a watch to the top level directory. This is prohibited by the  kernel. 
    Wildcards  are not supported either and will generate a warning. The way
    that watches work is by tracking the inode internally. If you place a 
    watch on a file, its the same as  using  the  -F  path  option  on a 
    syscall rule. If you place a watch on a directory, its the same as using
    the -F dir option on a syscall rule.  The  -w form  of  writing watches 
    is for backwards compatibility and the syscall based form is more
    expressive. Unlike most syscall auditing rules,  watches  do  not impact
    performance  based on the number of rules sent to the kernel. The only 
    valid options when using a watch are the -p and -k. If you  need to     
    anything fancy like audit a specific user accessing a file, then use 
    the syscall auditing form with the path or dir fields.

There is more discussion about this in the question Logging hidden file creations

share|improve this answer

Here some discussing to hacking with inotify to make it provide you with PID and UID. http://www.ioremap.net/node/55

Also look at Audit http://andries.filmer.nl/kb/Monitoring-file-system-events-with-inotify,-incron-and-authctl/129#Audit

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.