Solve quirky problems, increase privacy, and share files better by managing permissions in Leopard.

Take Control of
Permissions in Leopard

Brian Tanaka

Permissions problems in Leopard got you down? Turn to Unix expert Brian Tanaka’s unique guide to the permissions that control access to your files, folders, and disks. Learn how to keep files private, set the Ignore Permissions option for external disks, work with files on servers, repair permissions, and delete files that just won’t die.

This product has been discontinued.

Permissions problems got you down? Turn to Unix expert Brian Tanaka’s unique guide to the permissions in Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard that control access to your files, folders, and disks. You’ll learn how to keep files private, when to set Ignore Permissions, what happens when you repair permissions, how to delete stuck files, and the best ways to solve permissions-related problems. Advanced concepts include the sticky bit, Leopard’s more-important access control lists, bit masks, and symbolic versus absolute ways to set permissions. The book covers how to take control of permissions via the Finder, with Mac utilities, and using the command line.

10.6 Snow Leopard? Take Control of Permissions in Snow Leopard is available.

Read this ebook to learn the answers to questions like:

  • Why do so many problem-solving sites suggest that I repair permissions?
  • Why can anyone with an external drive access my account?
  • Why can’t I always access my own files when I boot from an external drive?
  • What should I do if someone tells me to set the permissions to -rw-r--r--?
  • What are promiscuous permissions, and should I be informing the vice squad?
  • What are access control lists (ACLs), and what’s new about them in Leopard?
  • How do I use the Unix command line to control permissions?
  • What Mac utilities can change permissions, if I don’t want to learn Unix?
  • How do I set up and manipulate account groups from System Preferences?
  • Now that the NetInfo database is gone in Leopard, how do I edit account settings such as numeric UID?

About Brian Tanaka

Brian Tanaka has worked for a variety of companies including the Well, SGI, Intuit, Nintendo, and RealNetworks. Today, his own company, Martingale-Oak LLC, provides Unix and open source technologies consulting. His articles have appeared in Linux Journal and Sysadmin Magazine.

Do you have an ebook that covers permissions in older versions of Mac OS X?

Yes, we do. See Take Control of Permissions in Mac OS X, which covers permissions in Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger and earlier.

Is there an edition that covers permissions in 10.6 Snow Leopard?

Yes, there is! Take Control of Permissions in Snow Leopard

Do you explain the correct permissions for the WebServer/Documents folders?

Brian's answer: The ebook explains permissions so thoroughly that I feel confident you'll have no problem at all setting and maintaining the permissions on the Webserver/Documents folders (and all the other folders on your Mac). That said, if you have specific questions that aren't covered by the ebook, I'd be glad to help to the degree I'm able.

  • Read Me First
  • Introduction
  • Permissions Quick Start
  • Problems and Solutions
  • About Permissions
  • The Anatomy of Permissions
  • Choose a Method of Setting Permissions
  • Set Permissions Using the Info Window
  • Set Permissions Using Third-Party Tools
  • Use Access Control Lists
  • Understand Default Permissions
  • Work with User Names, UIDs, and GIDs
  • Understand Ignore Ownership
  • Repair Permissions with Disk Utility
  • Learn Advanced Unix Techniques
  • Learn More
  • Appendix A: Fixes for Common Problems
  • Appendix B: Converting To Octal
  • Appendix C: Use the man Command
  • April 2010 -- It is unlikely that we'll update this Leopard ebook again. A Snow Leopard edition—Take Control of Permissions in Snow Leopard—is available.