Setting a default owner "automatically" would require a directory
setuid behaving like
setgid. However, while this can be configured on FreeBSD, other UNIX & Linux systems just ignore
u+s. In your case however, there might be another solution.
What I want is to have a directory that can be shared by adding a group to a user. Anything created in this directory inherits the permission scheme from its parent. If there is a better way than what I’m attempting, I’m all ears.
So, basically, from what I see, you want to control the access to a directory using the groups mechanism. However, this does not require you to restrict the permissions in the whole directory structure. Actually, the directory
--x execution bit could be just what you need. Let me give you an example. Assuming that...
- The group controlling the access to the
group_dir directory is
- Only people in the
ourgroup group can access
user2 belong to
- The default umask is 0022.
... consider the following setup:
drwxrws--- root:ourgroup |- group_dir/
drwxr-sr-x user1:ourgroup |---- group_dir/user1_submission/
drwxr-sr-x user2:ourgroup |---- group_dir/user2_submission/
-rw-r--r-- user2:ourgroup |-------- group_dir/user2_submission/README
Here, let's assume every item was created by its owner.
Now, in this setup:
- All directories can be browsed freely by everyone in
ourgroup. Anyone from the group can create, move, delete files anywhere inside
group_dir (but not deeper).
- Anyone who's not in
ourgroup will be blocked at
group_dir, and will therefore be unable to manipulate anything under it. For instance,
user3 (who isn't a member of
ourgroup), cannot read
group_dir/user2_submission/README (even though he has
r-- permission on the file itself).
However, there's a little problem in this case: because of the typical umask, items created by users cannot be manipulated by other members of the group. This is where ACLs come in. By setting default permissions, you'll make sure everything's fine despite the umask value:
$ setfacl -dRm u::rwX,g::rwX,o::0 group_dir/
This call sets:
rw(x) permissions for the owner.
rw(x) permissions for the group.
- No permissions by default for the others. Note that since the others can't access
group_dir anyway, it does not really matter what their permissions are below it.
Now, if I create an item as
$ touch group_dir/user2_submission/AUTHORS
$ ls -l group_dir/user2_submission/AUTHORS
rw-rw---- user2:ourgroup group_dir/user2_submission/AUTHORS
With this ACL in place, we can try rebuilding our previous structure:
drwxrws---+ root:ourgroup |- group_dir/
drwxrws---+ user1:ourgroup |---- group_dir/user1_submission/
drwxrws---+ user2:ourgroup |---- group_dir/user2_submission/
-rw-rw----+ user2:ourgroup |-------- group_dir/user2_submission/README
Here again, each item is created by its owner.
Additionally, if you'd like to give a little bit more power/security to those using the directory, you might want to consider a sticky bit. This would, for instance, prevent
user1 from deleting
user2_submission (since he has
-w- permission on
$ chmod +t group_dir/
user1 tries to remove
user2's directory, he'll get a lovely
Operation not permitted. Note however that while this prevents directory structure modifications in
group_dir, files and directories below it are still accessible:
user1@host $ rm -r user2_submission
Operation not permitted
user1@host $ > user2_submission/README
user1@host $ file user2_submission/README
user2_submission/README: empty (uh-oh)
Another thing to take into account is that the ACLs we used set up default permissions. It is therefore possible for the owner of an item to change the permissions associated to it. For instance,
user2 can perfectly run...
$ chown g= user2_submission/ -R
$ chgrp nobody user2_submission -R
... hence making his full submission directory unavailable to anyone in the group.
However, since you're originally willing to give full
rws access to anyone in the group, I'm assuming you're trusting these users, and that you wouldn't expect too many malicious operations from them.