What is the plus sign at the end of the permissions telling me?

ls -l
total 4
drwxrwxrwx+ 2 benson avahi-autoipd 4096 Jan 27 17:37 docs

Here's the context:

cat /etc/issue
\CentOS release 5.3 (Final)
Kernel \r on an \m

3 Answers 3


It means your file has extended permissions called ACLs.

You have to run getfacl <file> to see the full permissions.

See Access Control Lists for more details.


via man page 'ls'

"If the file or directory has extended security information, the permissions field printed by the -l option is followed by a '+' character."

This generally means the file is encumbered with access restrictions outside of the traditional Unix permissions - likely Access Control List (ACL).

  • 2
    "encumbered with access restrictions" - does that mean that a file or directory without a + has less restrictions? Commented Mar 22, 2016 at 22:00
  • 11
    @squarecandy : No, the + can remove restrictions (so add permissions). For example, in the current Ubuntu default, when you plug in an external drive, it gets mounted in /media/{yourusername}/, but the permissions on /media/{yourusername} are drwxr-x---+ and the owner and group are both root, so you'd expect nobody besides root to be able to do anything with anything in there. But the ACL says user:{yourusername}:r-x, so in fact you do have access (but none of the other users do). Commented Sep 26, 2017 at 5:34
  • 5
    FYI, strangely on Debian's man ls page (GNU coreutils 8.26) it doesn't mention that usage of +, but info coreutils ls does
    – Xen2050
    Commented Oct 29, 2018 at 12:58
  • What can it mean "not generally"? :) I do not have the acl package installed, can it be acl nonetheless or is there something else this could indicate?
    – Felix
    Commented Oct 13, 2021 at 6:01
  • The ls man page from coreutils 8.30 in RHEL 8.3 does not contain the string "extended".
    – RonJohn
    Commented Feb 18, 2022 at 20:38

From the acl package in Ubuntu :

$ man acl | grep -1 '+'
     •   For files that have a default ACL or an access ACL that contains more than the three required ACL entries, the ls(1) utility in the long form produced by ls -l
         displays a plus sign (+) after the permission string.


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