I have a folder located at /software which I want to make it read/write/exec to a group of users. The idea is that this folder will have common software installations, maintained by users from the same group. As an example this is what I was trying to do:

$ ls /
drwxr-xr-x 29 root root 555 Feb 18 18:31 software

If we go inside /software:

$ ls /software

drwxrwxr-x   2 user1 THEGROUP 26604 Feb 22 12:42 bin
drwxrwxr-x   2 user2 THEGROUP  4702 Feb 22 12:40 el6.3
drwxrwxr-x   2 user3 THEGROUP   236 May 26  2015 java-tools
drwxrwxr-x   3 user4 THEGROUP    30 Mar 26  2015 perl
drwxrwxr-x   2 user5 THEGROUP 11313 Jul 28  2015 perl-scripts
drwxrwxr-x   2 user6 THEGROUP  4893 Oct 29 12:30 python-scripts
drwxrwxr-x   2 user7 THEGROUP  1174 Sep 30 12:06 shell-scripts

For the sake of simplicity in the example do not care about things other permissions because I edited myself.


  • user[1-7] should be able to read/write/exec in every folder inside /software
  • user[1-7] should be able to create new folders inside /software

How to achieve this? Thanks for your help!

  • Create a new group
  • chgrp the directory to this new group.
  • Set permissions for group writeable
  • Add all relevant users to the group.

All done.

The first step might depend on your distribution, but there is typically an `/etc/group. Edit it in your favourite text editor.

Then chgrp THEGROUP /software and chmod g+rwx /software

Adding users to a group can be done by editing /etc/passwd. This is best done carefully and there are nice tools for this (e.g. vipw)

Last items: New groups are only effective after a user logs in again. Secondly do you want items below /software also to have the same permissions. If you do look at the sticky bit for directories.


First set the owner and group for the directory by following command

chown -R user:group [directory]

Then give the group full access over directory

chown -R -g+xwr [directory]

Viola, done.

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