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Linux: Difference between "chmod +x" and "chmod u+x"

Question by Guest | 23/07/2016 at 18:14

At the moment, I am working with batch scripts on Linux for the first time. I have already created a file containing my script and I also know how to mark this file as executable in order to make it runable.

However, I have seen several different ways and procedures to do that on the Internet. In one tutorial, they say that you have to use "chmod +x", on another website "chmod u+x" is mentioned.

I have tried both and obviously there is no difference. Both methods are working in the same way. Or is there any difference? What should I use better? Should I prefer one way?

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Progger99

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The "u" is standing for user. That means that the executable flag only applies to the current user of the file.

The following is possible:

  • u for user (the user who is owner of the file
  • g for group (other users in the file group
  • o for others (users not in the file group
  • a for all (all users)

If you are using "chmod +x", this is the same as "chmod a+x" - the modification applies to all.

However, it is also possible to combine multiple letters, for example "chmod ugo-x" or "chmod ug-x" for the owner of the file as well as the other users of the file group.

By the way, with "chmod -x" you can abolish the executability again. The minus sign removes the flags, the plus sign adds them.
23/07/2016 at 23:58

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