I use the 'tap' net device with KVM to get my vm connect to the Internet. But I have to be root, or use 'sudo', which is inconvenient. I think I can put my user account into some group so I can access the net device without root privilege. I tried the netdev group, but does not work. My account is already in the kvm group.

What else should I do? Or is there any way to allow me using KVM freely without permission issue?

2 Answers 2


The group is whoever has read and write permissions to /dev/net/tun. The default setup varies from distribution to distribution. The ownership and permissions of devices is set by udev.

Create a file /etc/udev/rules.d/zzz_net_tun.rules containing

KERNEL=="tun", GROUP="netdev", MODE="0660", OPTIONS+="static_node=net/tun"

This will make the device accessible by all users in the netdev group. The setting takes effect when the device is created, so if it already exists, do chgrp netdev /dev/net/tun; chmod 660 /dev/net/tun.

(adapted from the Gentoo Wiki wiki)

  • I tried the last two commands on my Ubuntu 15.04 box but user space applications still can't seem to access it: "qemu-system-arm: -net tap,ifname=tap0: could not configure /dev/net/tun (tap0): Operation not permitted". I verified that the group is set to netdev and permissions set to 0660. (And I'm in the netdev group.) Nov 16, 2015 at 2:30
  • @NathanOsman What's the output of groups and ls -l /dev/net/tun? Run strace -o qemu.strace qemu-system-arm net tap,ifname=tap0 … and look at the part of the trace where it tries to open /dev/net/tun. What's going on exactly? If you can't figure it out, ask a new question with all this information. Nov 16, 2015 at 11:27
  • I finally decided to just ask a new question anyway: unix.stackexchange.com/q/243382/1049 I'll still run strace and see if I can't get to the bottom of this. Nov 16, 2015 at 18:42
  • hi! I followed this answer (I'm in the group netdev, I added the udev rule, opened a new shell to make the group effect) but still getting the message "could not open /dev/net/tun: Permission denied". ubuntu 16.04. Any suggestion? Thanks.
    – Chan Kim
    Apr 14, 2021 at 14:07
  • @ChanKim Opening a shell is not enough. You need to log out and back in. Check with id or groups that you are in the group as expected. Apr 14, 2021 at 14:43

Make sure you are part of the KVM group also. The recommendantion is to make every virtualization things (network configuration, firmware access, qemu configuration) available for the kvm group.

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