I recently had this question at a test for a Linux certification. How do you do this?

  1. Copy file /etc/fstab to /tmp/fstab_bck and make sure it's owned by root and group is root.

    I know how to do this.

  2. Make sure user X does not have access.

  3. Make sure user Y has access to view. Make sure that all other newly created users have access to view this file.

  • 1
    Have a look at POSIX ACL (access control lists, google). Only works on filesystems that support them.
    – dirkt
    Nov 22 at 9:36

To accomplish requirements 2 and 3, you need to use ACLs in addition to normal chmod permissions:

chmod o+r /tmp/fstab_bck
setfacl -m u:userx:000 /tmp/fstab_bck

No need to write an ACL for User Y, since User Y is part of "other" users.


While "2." is trivial (just don't put X into group "root", which you'd never do, anyways), 3. is impossible only with the original POSIX owner/group/rest permission system.

Luckily, ACLs have been around for ages, so that's probably what your certification wants you to learn at least rudimentarily.

  • Thank you for your answer, i was suspecting ACL's however, none of the documentation or study guide even mention ACL. I thought there would be something that could be acomplished by regular permissions.
    – Awes
    Nov 25 at 9:23

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