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

A friend of mine set permissions on a file that he owns to 0070. He's in the group. Basically, he wants the group to have rwx, but not the file owner. When he tries to cat or vi the file, he gets permission denied. Do the user bits have to be set for the file owner in order for group members to read and write the file?

chmod 0070 test.txt 
cat test.txt 
cat: test.txt: Permission denied

chmod 0670 test.txt 
cat test.txt 
share|improve this question
Your display is incomplete and will prevent any of su from helping you. – mdpc Dec 17 '12 at 4:17
up vote 3 down vote accepted

If he is the "owner" of the file... and "o" has 0 for it's permission bits... that means he has no rights to the file. Group bits won't be evaluated unless he is not the owner. chown the file to another user (perhaps nobody?) and then the group bits will apply. (of course... this does not apply to root) If he is indeed the owner, keep in mind that he can always change permissions back.

share|improve this answer
That works. Thank you! – user1200129 Mar 9 '12 at 21:03

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.