Getfattr dumps a listing of extended attributes for a selected file.

However, getfattr --dump filename only to dumps the user.* namespace and not the security.*, system.*, and trusted.* namespaces. Generally, there are no user namespace attributes unless you attached one to a file manually.

Yes I know I can get the SELinux information by using getfattr -n security.selinux filename. In this case, I know the specific identification of the extended attribute.

I have tried this as the root user. I'd assume that the root user with full capabilities is able to access this information. But you only get the user.* namespace dump.

The question is how can I easily get a full dump of all the extended attribute namespaces of a file without knowing the names of all the keys in all the namespaces?

  • 1
    and "lsattr" doesn't suffice? (see "man chattr" in order to decode the long attribute string) Commented Aug 4, 2016 at 4:30

1 Answer 1


I hate to do this but the answer is (after more research):

 getfattr -d -m - file

I apparently missed this in my reading of the man page:

-m pattern, --match=pattern

   Only include attributes with names matching the regular expression pattern. [...] Specify "-" for including all attributes.

  • 3
    I was using getfattr -d -m '' file for that, I wasn't aware - was a special case, but it looks like it's been like that ever since the feature was added (initially as the -r option). A shame. One needs to use -m '[-]' to search for attributes that contain -. Commented Aug 31, 2017 at 12:08

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