Is there a way to change who can chmod (change the permissions of) a particular file?

It is only the owner of the file (without sudo-ing it), if my experimentation has been correct?

But what I want to do is allow on the group to be able to edit the file permissions, and not the owner.

This isn't possible under the traditional Unix file system I don't think, but I'm wondering if there is a sneaky way it can be done using ACLs or something similar?

  • 3
    Only the owner of a file can change its permissions. What you're asking for doesn't make a huge amount of sense, since it effectively gives all permissions to all members of the group. Why do you need this? Jan 17, 2013 at 0:13
  • We are running a shared web server, and have been having issues with hacking so we want to by default set the web server as the owner, and give it r-x only, to prevent it from uploading files. Each site has a group which all developers are in, so they can upload content. But there are reasons when you want it to write (file uploads) and in which case it should be able to write. And we don't give sudo out, we want to give the people who upload content and manage their sites the ability to let the web server have write access if it needs it.
    – penguin
    Jan 17, 2013 at 14:38

1 Answer 1


Only the owner of the file (and root) are allowed to change permissions to a file. Perhaps you should allow your users to do some stuff as the web server's user (via sudo(1))?

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