I need to sync only ownership and group of each file and dir between two server filesystems. That's to say if I have server A and server B, I don't need and don't want to copy data from one server to other, I need to set the same owner and group from each file in B that exists in A. If a file/dir doesn't exist in A, or viceversa, I don't need to do nothing about, only to change owner and group of every file and directory that exists in both servers to the one of the file/dir in server A. I know that "chown --reference" make that, but I don't know how to use it for change according to other files and directories.

I wish I explained my question correctly.

Please, any suggestion?

Thanks in advance

  • Just owner and group, and neither permission nor SELinux security context nor ACLs? (Just checking.) Feb 8, 2018 at 8:24
  • Yes, only OWNER and GROUP, not data content or permissions Feb 8, 2018 at 8:28

1 Answer 1


Assuming that you don't mind trying to set ownerships on files that already have them correctly, I guess you could run something along the lines of

/bin/stat --format 'chown %u:%g %n' ~/.bash*

on server A, which will give you a list of chown commands to execute on server B. (You could pipe the whole thing through | ssh user@serverB.)

You'll get the occasional error for files that don't exist on B, but that would be harmless.

  • I don't mind to "re-set" files that have yet the correct owner and group, as you correctly thought. I think your idea is fantastic, I didn't imagine to use "stat". I was wondering on using "rsync" combined with "chown --reference", but your solution is less risky. I'll give you news about the task. Thank you!! Feb 8, 2018 at 8:40
  • @RafaelLinuxUser, try stat --format 'chown %U:%G "%n"' to have names
    – JJoao
    Feb 8, 2018 at 8:54
  • Thank you!! I remove my question, cause I should have investigate more on the paremeters of "stat" before asking. Feb 8, 2018 at 9:27
  • Based on Ulrich solution, I have this sentence: "find / ! -user root -or ! -group root | xargs stat --format 'chown %U:%G %n' ", but , please, how to redirect to a txt file? I tried adding "> text.txt" but didn't worked. Feb 8, 2018 at 9:29
  • 1
    @JJoao: yes, always a tricky issue if you don't know if uid/guid assignments are the same for both servers. Feb 8, 2018 at 11:57

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