chown man page on 4.4BSD

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CHOWN(8)		  BSD System Manager's Manual		      CHOWN(8)

NAME
     chown — change file owner and group

SYNOPSIS
     chown [-R [-H | -L | -P]] [-f] owner [:group] file ...
     chown [-R [-H | -L | -P]] [-f] :group file ...

DESCRIPTION
     Chown sets the user ID and/or the group ID of the specified files.

     The options are as follows:

     -H	     If the -R option is specified, symbolic links on the command line
	     are followed.  (Symbolic links encountered in the tree traversal
	     are not followed.)

     -L	     If the -R option is specified, all symbolic links are followed.

     -P	     If the -R option is specified, no symbolic links are followed.

     -R	     Change the user ID and/or the group ID for the file hierarchies
	     rooted in the files instead of just the files themselves.

     -f	     Don't report any failure to change file owner or group, nor mod‐
	     ify the exit status to reflect such failures.

     Symbolic links don't have owners, so unless the -H or -L option is set,
     chown on a symbolic link always succeeds and has no effect.  The -H, -L
     and -P options are ignored unless the -R option is specified.  In addi‐
     tion, these options override each other and the command's actions are
     determined by the last one specified.

     The owner and group operands are both optional, however, one must be
     specified.	 If the group operand is specified, it must be preceded by a
     colon (``:'') character.

     The owner may be either a numeric user ID or a user name.	If a user name
     is also a numeric user ID, the operand is used as a user name.  The group
     may be either a numeric group ID or a group name.	If a group name is
     also a numeric group ID, the operand is used as a group name.

     The ownership of a file may only be altered by a super-user for obvious
     security reasons.

     The chown utility exits 0 on success, and >0 if an error occurs.

COMPATIBILITY
     Previous versions of the chown utility used the dot (``.'') character to
     distinguish the group name.  This has been changed to be a colon (``:'')
     character so that user and group names may contain the dot character.

     Previous versions of the chown utility changed the owner of symbolic
     links specified on the command line.  In this system, symbolic links do
     not have owners.

SEE ALSO
     chgrp(1), find(1), chown(2), fts(3), symlink(7)

STANDARDS
     The chown command is expected to be POSIX 1003.2 compliant.

4th Berkeley Distribution	March 31, 1994	     4th Berkeley Distribution
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