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We would like to have a network backup system with a user that can read any file on our servers but not write any file. Is there any way to do this under Linux (and specifically Fedora)? We would rather not have a remote root that can erase any file...

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You should choose software you trust not to write to file systems when they shouldn't. Also, not allowing it to write to the file system may make file recovery difficult. I have worked on too many systems where backups were not recoverable, and therefore not trusted. – BillThor Nov 14 '12 at 7:00
up vote 6 down vote accepted

If you export your filesystem via NFS and the ro and no_root_squash option, it can't be modified on the remote system.

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Nice approach. Thanks. – vy32 Nov 15 '12 at 21:20

Short answer: no

Long answer: in theory, you could set an ACL over your whole filesystem that would allow user X to read everything. But that's pretty tedious. From what I can tell, must backup software runs as root for precisely this reason.

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