Are file permissions in files on external devices silly?
tchomby at googlemail.com
Fri Nov 21 12:46:15 UTC 2008
A friend of mine connected a USB external hard drive up to his ubuntu laptop.
It had previously been used on a mac, and had some files on it. He can't access
the files because the owner is the username used on the mac, different to the
username on the ubuntu laptop, and the file permissions are set to let just
the owner read them. At this point my non-expert friend was stuck and had to
ask for help, having no idea why he couldn't access the files, and blaming
ubuntu for it. He said "they have a little x next to them."
Now I know this problem is due to file permissions and may happen on mac or
windows as well. But isn't this silly? He's in no way prevented from accessing
the files. He can access them, or change their permissions, as root. He could
even create a new user with the username used on the mac and access them that
way. So I think the security value of this is nil and it serves only to annoy,
because he has to fiddle with the file permissions as root before he can access
them, and has to ask for help to do this.
So I'm just wondering if something can or should be done to avoid this
situation, and prevent the user from having to workaround it manually. I
hesitate to suggest it, but if the user can't access some files, but is a sudo
user, then really they can access them in a few clicks of they know what file
permissions are, could we do something to the "You do not have permission to
access those files" error message, like add a button to it that says "Change
file permissions" and when clicked recursively changes the file permissions
appropriately (asking for the sudo password first).
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