I am trying to get extended attributes working on Fedora 22. I can't seem to be able to set the attributes even on my files, but I can read them. Here's how it looks:

[jarek@localhost ~]$ cd /tmp/
[jarek@localhost tmp]$ touch a
[jarek@localhost tmp]$ setfattr -n "user.abc" -v "blah" a 
setfattr: a: Operation not supported
[jarek@localhost tmp]$ sudo setfattr -n "user.abc" -v "blah" a 
setfattr: a: Operation not supported
[jarek@localhost tmp]$ strace setfattr -n "user.abc" -v "blah" a 
setxattr("a", "user.abc", "blah", 4, 0) = -1 EOPNOTSUPP (Operation not supported)
+++ exited with 1 +++
[jarek@localhost tmp]$ getfattr a
[jarek@localhost tmp]$ echo $?

Some information about my system:

[jarek@localhost ~]$ uname -a
Linux localhost.localdomain 4.1.5-200.fc22.x86_64 #1 SMP Mon Aug 10 23:38:23 UTC 2015 x86_64 x86_64 x86_64 GNU/Linux
[jarek@localhost test]$ mount |grep /dev/sda5
/dev/sda5 on / type ext4 (rw,noatime,seclabel,discard,data=ordered)

Does anyone have an idea what am I doing wrong? This works on Ubuntu 14.04.


That is indeed on /tmp which is a tmpfs, not ext4 file system on my system.

  • 1
    Are you sure that /tmp is on the ext4 and not a tmpfs?  What do mount | grep tmp and df /tmp say? Commented Sep 4, 2015 at 10:19
  • 1
    You're right! This is tmpfs. It works elsewhere where it really is ext4.
    – JarekD
    Commented Sep 4, 2015 at 10:37
  • And this explains the difference between this and the ubuntu machine - it doesn't use tmpfs in /tmp, just the ext4 mounted on /.
    – JarekD
    Commented Sep 4, 2015 at 10:41
  • Thank you very much G-Man for your input. If you submit the answer saying what you said in the comment so that I can accept and give you some reputation points.
    – JarekD
    Commented Sep 4, 2015 at 10:54
  • Try something like "attr -s"
    – user2267
    Commented Nov 17, 2016 at 1:39

1 Answer 1


You don’t mention it in your text, but your code block shows that you are doing your test in /tmp.  Even if your root filesystem (HDD or SSD) is ext4, you might have /tmp mounted as a separate filesystem, probably of type tmpfs, and that does not support extended attributes.  You can check whether this is the case by executing any of the following commands:

  • mount | grep tmp
  • df /tmp
  • grep /tmp /etc/fstab

The fact that the getfattr succeeds is a little surprising, but not very.  I guess some developer thought it would be harmless to report that a file has no extended attributes when the filesystem doesn’t support extended attributes.  After all, it’s true — the file has no extended attributes.

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