Server Fault is a question and answer site for system and network administrators. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I created a file by redirecting output and the created file cannot be touched. Upon using any commands (such as paste, cut, rm), it tells me access denied. When I try to delete it using ftp, it says there is no such file, but I clearly see the file. Upon typing ll, where it shows the permissions, it says head or paste instead of rwx.

What should I do?

share|improve this question

migrated from Oct 6 '10 at 0:23

This question came from our site for professional and enthusiast programmers.

post the output of "ls -la filename" – pauska Oct 6 '10 at 0:33

You can remove a file only if you have write permission to the directory it resides in, after that you can try to unlink it.

share|improve this answer
That's at least weird, anyway: 1. root can override any and all permissions, 2. check if you're not using ACLs 3. Are you using a UNIX file system (ext, xfs, etc.)? – Hubert Kario Oct 6 '10 at 2:50
Root is not god on a mandatory access control system. – symcbean Oct 6 '10 at 11:28
yes it's a very poor choice, but that was about your ability to delete files in directory you don't have write access to – Hubert Kario Oct 6 '10 at 12:20
@bemace: Test again — as long as only unix filesystem permissions are involved, you do need write permission on the directory and not on the file. Some ACL systems (but not Linux's, other than potentially changing who has write permission), and security policy systems such as SELinux, can affect this. – Gilles Oct 6 '10 at 21:50
@symcbean: It's not a matter of mandatory vs. discretionary access system. You could have a MAC with a god user. SELinux restricts what root can do, but not because it provides mandatory access control. – Gilles Oct 6 '10 at 21:51

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.