Solve quirky problems, increase privacy, and share files better by managing Mac OS X permissions.

Take Control of
Permissions in Mac OS X

Brian Tanaka

Permissions problems in Tiger 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.

This 10.4-Tiger-focused ebook is no longer for sale, though if you really need a copy, please get in touch with us. You may instead wish to purchase Take Control of Permissions in Leopard or Take Control of Permissions in Snow Leopard.

Read this ebook to learn the answers to questions like:

  • Why do so many problem-solving sites suggest that I repair permissions?
  • 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 Mac utilities can change permissions, if I don’t want to learn Unix?
  • How do I use the Unix command line to control permissions?
  • What’s an access control list, and why should I care?

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.

Has anything changed with permissions since this ebook was published in 2005?

In terms of Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger and earlier versions of Mac OS X, honestly, no, nothing has much changed, and the ebook is still current for those versions of Mac OS X.

However, we've created another ebook about 10.5 Leopard—Take Control of Permissions in Leopard, so if you need help with permissions in Leopard, you should purchase that ebook instead of this one. And, for 10.6 Snow Leopard, there's Take Control of Permissions in Snow Leopard.

  • 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
  • Appendix A: Fixes for Common Problems
  • Appendix B: Converting To Octal
  • Appendix C: Use the man Command
  • About This Ebook
  • Additional Information