• Ubuntu 14.04 LTS Desktop


/media/gal_db$ ls -al
drwxrwx--- 6 admin     shared_disk  4096 Aug 15 13:31 .
drwxr-xr-x 6 root      root         4096 Aug 13 12:54 ..
drwx------ 3 postgres  shared_disk  4096 Aug 15 14:28 database

/media/gal_db$ members shared_disk
gal  admin  postgres

Remove postgres from shared_disk to limit access to filesystem

sudo deluser postgres shared_disk

Try logging into database as user gal

psql -U gal
    Password for user gal:
    psql: FATAL:  could not access directory "pg_tblspc/16399/PG_9.3_201306121/16401": Permission denied

Re-add postgres user to shared_disk

sudo adduser postgres shared_disk

Try logging into database as user gal again

psql -U gal
    Password for user gal:
    psql (9.3.5)
    Type "help" for help.

Success. And confusion.


  1. Why does postgres need to be a member of shared_disk to access the database directory?
  2. Isn't it enough that postgres is the owner of the database directory?

Only the “admin” user and members of the “shared_disk” group can access the /media/gal_db directory.  So, if you take “postgres” out of the “shared_disk” group, it can’t even get to the database directory.

  • 2
    To generalize, you need to be able to access all the parent directories of a file/directory to access that file/directory. – Patrick Sep 5 '14 at 22:23

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