I think the question title explains itself, but I will give you some details...

I have a MacBook Pro Late 2011 with Ubuntu 13.10 and OS X Mavericks sharing the same hard drive with OS X using most of it. In the OS X partition, I have my development folder with all my working projects, learning projects, etc.

What I want to do is to share this folder between the OSs, because I work in both systems depending the language or project, and I have to manually sync both devel folders all the time, and I'm tired of it.

I don't know if this is even posible... maybe changing the folder permissions (I already tried, but I have to update new file permissions all the time), I don't know if I can tell both systems to write custom permissions for files inside particular folders, or if there's an app to help me do this.

What can I do?

And thank you for your help.


For now, I'm using the default settings for this folder, and as I said, the fold belong to OS X and I can access to it from Ubuntu using sudo. I also have a similar folder in the Ubuntu partition where I can work when I'm using this system, but everytime I ha to manually sync both folder so I can access them from each system.

Everytime I copy files from one folder to another, I have to set the right permissions again for every file and folder, it sux.

  • 1
    Please describe your current configuration and what you could do and what not. Do you could see the devel folder from OSX in Ubuntu and vice versa?
    – UsersUser
    Dec 1, 2013 at 19:05
  • I don't know how much data you have to transfer this way, but if it's not too much, you could simply use a cloud storage service to automatically sync your folders for you. When you modify the file in, say, Ubuntu, it'll be uploaded to the service's servers, and when you log in to Mac OS, the file will automatically be re-downloaded in the same folder structure. This still makes you have each file twice, and it goes through the Internet, which sucks if you have a limited connection. Regardless it's a rather simple solution. Dropbox for instance is available for Mac OS as well as Linux.
    – Ariane
    Dec 2, 2013 at 5:41
  • That's what I thought... I'm just looking for something more "native" @Ariane
    – Dave Gomez
    Dec 3, 2013 at 12:22

2 Answers 2


It is possible, even though it requires a bit of work. Let me remind you, though, that support of HFS+ in Linux is not complete: Linux systems have read and write access only by disabling journaling, which decreases the ability of your disk to survive the usual hardware problems. You should consider an alternative solution: installing Ubuntu in a Virtual Machine. This would completely solve all of your problems.

As for the OP: the problem lies most likely in a difference between user ID and group ID (UID -GID) of the users accessing the partition under the two different OSes. UID/GID can be synchronized. The procedure requires a tad of work, you can find it discussed in full detail on this Web page. It is arranged in such a way that, if anything goes wrong, you can easily backtrack. It also contains the list of all the places in Ubuntu where you will have to change your UID/GID.

  • Awesome tutorial @MariusMatutiae, thank you for sharing. Sorry I can't give you points for this (can't yet).
    – Dave Gomez
    Dec 3, 2013 at 12:24

An alternative approach is to sync UID/GID but access most of your folders via symlinks to an ext4 partition using fuse-ext2 on OS X. That way you can still use a journaling FS. I was using an HFS+ partition, that also works quite well. I am right now trying to salvage files from a corrupt HFS+ shared home partition (I was linking to it from SSD on OS X), and I have been considering switching to this alternative on a new drive. I think I already installed and run it on MacPorts but I have to retest it. There are also proprietary solutions for this, but free software does exist! For external HD, though, using HFS+ is painless enough. Hoping any of this is helpful, setting up file sharing across OSX/linux is stressful but worth the effort. Otherwise, you'll be copying files all the time or you'll have to set up a sophisticated remote syncing set up that is definitely harder to maintain -- I couldn't make that practical.

Take a look at --> https://github.com/alperakcan/fuse-ext2

This is what I will be trying next.

For ext2, there is a macports version: https://ports.macports.org/port/ext2fuse/summary

There is an ext4 module for osxfuse (which you can install via macports) but it is read only!

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