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Is it possible to describe a mount point outside of /etc? I would like to mount a filesystem to do some testing on a cluster where I don't have root access.

Basically, can I mount OrangeFS as non-root? I also am not trying to mount it inside /etc, I was attempting to add a fs table file/entry somewhere outside of /etc.

FYI I am trying to mount an OrangeFS filesystem.

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So, your question is more like: Can I mount an OrangeFS as non-root? ? – mpy Jul 19 '13 at 17:26
Yes exactly. Now I feel a bit foolish – Joe Jul 19 '13 at 17:31
@Joe you might edit your question to reflect this clarification . . . – ernie Jul 19 '13 at 17:32
No I don't want to mount it under /etc, I want to create a table entry outside of /etc. Since I can't edit /etc/fstab, I want to create an 'ofstab' file outside of /etc and use it to mount. – Joe Jul 19 '13 at 17:33
@terdon I'm guessing the OP believes disks that are to be mounted must be defined in /etc/fstab . . . but if the real question is can you mount as non-root, the answer becomes simple . . . – ernie Jul 19 '13 at 17:34
up vote 4 down vote accepted

On Linux, a file system can be mounted if either one (or both) of these conditions are met:

  • The file system is listed in /etc/fstab with the user option set (allow ordinary users to mount), or
  • You have superuser access

So the simple answer to your question is almost certainly no, you cannot mount a random file system without root access.

The reason for this is that if regular users were allowed to mount whatever device they wanted as a file system wherever they wanted, they could potentially use that to bypass security restrictions. Requiring that the administrator explicitly configures file systems the users should be able to mount themselves by device and mount point centralizes control, which in a multi-user system is essential.

Note that there is nothing inherently magical about the file system table being stored in /etc/fstab in particular. The fstab file is read by mount, not by the kernel, and mount could just as easily look elsewhere for file system specifications.

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