These system calls change the permissions of a file.
They differ only in how the file is specified:
changes the permissions of the file specified whose pathname is given in
which is dereferenced if it is a symbolic link.
changes the permissions of the file referred to by the open file descriptor
The new file permissions are specified in
which is a bit mask created by ORing together zero or
more of the following:
set-user-ID (set process effective user ID on
set-group-ID (set process effective group ID on
mandatory locking, as described in
take a new file's group from parent directory, as described in
sticky bit (restricted deletion flag, as described in
read by owner
write by owner
execute/search by owner ("search" applies for directories,
and means that entries within the directory can be accessed)
read by group
write by group
execute/search by group
read by others
write by others
execute/search by others
The effective UID of the calling process must match the owner of the file,
or the process must be privileged (Linux: it must have the
If the calling process is not privileged (Linux: does not have the
capability), and the group of the file does not match
the effective group ID of the process or one of its
supplementary group IDs, the
bit will be turned off,
but this will not cause an error to be returned.
As a security measure, depending on the file system,
the set-user-ID and set-group-ID execution bits
may be turned off if a file is written.
(On Linux this occurs if the writing process does not have the
On some file systems, only the superuser can set the sticky bit,
which may have a special meaning.
For the sticky bit, and for set-user-ID and set-group-ID bits on
On NFS file systems, restricting the permissions will immediately influence
already open files, because the access control is done on the server, but
open files are maintained by the client.
Widening the permissions may be
delayed for other clients if attribute caching is enabled on them.
On success, zero is returned.
On error, -1 is returned, and
is set appropriately.
Depending on the file system, other errors can be returned.
The more general errors for
are listed below:
Search permission is denied on a component of the path prefix.
points outside your accessible address space.
An I/O error occurred.
Too many symbolic links were encountered in resolving
is too long.
The file does not exist.
Insufficient kernel memory was available.
A component of the path prefix is not a directory.
The effective UID does not match the owner of the file,
and the process is not privileged (Linux: it does not have the
The named file resides on a read-only file system.