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  1. #1

    Removable storage: filesystem without permissions?

    Hi all,

    I have an external hard-drive and I'm looking for a way to avoid permission-inconveniences (especially for write-permissions).
    The problem is that the creator (owner) is by default the only one getting write permissions to directories and files, and that the owner is changing as the hard drive is plugged into different computers.
    I believe that the ID of the creator is used, not the name - the name would however have little meaning on different computers.

    The point is just that I think file permissions are of little use on removable storage; anyone having root access on any computer can just connect the storage to that computer and change permissions.
    Or do you find any use in file permissions on removable storage (if it has one user)?

    So I was just wondering if there is a way to get a "permission-free" filesystem or have Linux ignore the file permissions for a device?
    I know vfat could be used since it does not support file permissions, but it also makes too strict restrictions on file sizes (2 GB?) and names (case-insensitive).

    Thank you for any help on this!

  2. #2
    Well, if the intention is to use the external drive to share files, get your users to set their umask to 0 (zero) before storing the files. Or you could setup group access for all and make sure all users are members of the relevant groups. Or run a script to chmod the device when it's detected.

    The "problem" in this case is the way UNIX/Linux treats all files the same, and applies the same security to everything.

  3. #3
    Thanks for the reply.
    I have also posted a similar thread at, which (not surprisingly) suggested the same things:
    change permissions (before/after storing) or use vfat.

    But it is also interesting to see that there are quite a few posts, at at least, having questions regarding removable storage and file permissions.

    Using vfat is no good solution because of file size limit (4 GB), and scripts that should be run automatically must be set up on every machine the media should be connected to beforehand - also inconvenient (in my opinion at least).

    Maybe we should look at creating something that could solve this issue? For example a wrapper around the filesystem implementation (ext3/reiserfs etc.) that set all permissions to 777 on open-for-writing? Is this a possible solution? Such that we could have an option of using any filesystem in permission-free mode.

    Could any of you having a better understanding of the Linux kernel and filesystem implementation comment on this? Any other possible solutions maybe?

  4. $spacer_open
  5. #4
    This is an old thread but I have the impression that essentially nothing has changed since then. At least I have the same problem and see no real solution, except maybe using ntfs. But shouldn't there be a "native" filesystem that works?

  6. #5
    Join Date
    May 2004
    arch linux
    Hello and welcome, switzel!

    This thread is almost 4 years old so I'm going to lock it down, but please feel free to start a fresh thread of your own if you are having any problems with Linux.

    Thank you.

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