I'm going full Linux for in my laptop (Fedora 24 at the moment). I'd like to clear some confusion about applications ownership and what entail.

I installed Chrome from the rpm on the official site. DNF did its thing and installed it in /opt/google/chrome. Now, since I used sudo dnf install...the owner of that folder is root. Is is a good idea to change the ownership to the standard user?

I ask this because of this: I installed JDownloader (it's a Java-based download manager), still from rpm still using sudo dnf install at the end of the installation it started the application automatically as, I guess, root user. I modified the settings, choose the download folder and tested a download. All worked. Later I launch the application from the desktop icon, as standard user I suppose. The download couldn't start because the user didn't have permission to write in the download folder. Ok, I changed it to the standard user. All worked fine. And then I though, what if I change settings in the application as a standard user? The changes didn't survive the application's restart.

I then changed the ownership of /opt/jd2/ to the standard user and I could manage to save the settings.

My question is: "Should applications under /opt retain the root ownership or it's ok to change it?" Chrome didn't have any issues when I was using it as a standard user when its owner was root, JDownloader did.


It depends, the ownership (usually) does not matter from a functional point of view, however:

  • If root owns it then it minimises the chance of rough or buggy software modifying it.
  • If you own it then it can update it self, when you are running it (but not other users).
  • If …
  • Ok I get this, but I find difficult finding a "rule" to whether keep the installation folder of an application owned by root or change it. Another example: I'm installing Matlab. I can run the installer either as standard user or as root. If I run it as standard user the default installation path /usr/local/MATLAB/R2016a is inaccessible. But if I install it as root how do I know the limitations I will have once I run the program as a normal user? – Crysis85 Jul 4 '16 at 8:20
  • What limitation are you expecting? – ctrl-alt-delor Jul 4 '16 at 14:40

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

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