Changing ownership on floppy

David Tomaschik david at
Thu Oct 2 20:25:35 BST 2008

Sudo does give you root privileges.  Most likely, in this case, even
root can't change the ownership on the files on the floppy drive.  And
here's why:  they're probably formatted as FAT-12 or some other FAT
variant.  FAT does not support POSIX ownership of files, so for POSIX
purposes, it inherits a default owner for the entire filesystem.  By
default, that owner is root.  If you have an entry in fstab for your
floppy drive with the 'users' option, any user should be able to mount
it.  If you don't, mount it as root but pass '-o user=YOURUSERNAME' as
an option to mount.  This causes the drive to be mounted as the user you

I know some things in Linux seem different -- frustrating, even.  But
they're generally done in a way for a reason (even if it's a historical
reason) and in many cases, the reason is good.  :)


Eric Weir wrote:
> I have some old files on floppies that I want to copy to my hard disk. I 
> am able to mount the drive only with sudo on the terminal. After it's 
> mounted, ownership is root. When I try to change that by sudoing chown, 
> I am told "Operation not permitted." I thought sudo gave you root 
> privileges. Is there a way around this Catch-22?
> At the risk of ticking off people who otherwise might be inclined to 
> help, I have to say that this is one of the things that's really 
> irritating about Linux, and that is driving me away from it. I have been 
> patiently -- well, honestly, sometimes pretty *impatiently* -- trying to 
> understand it, assuming that eventually things that used to mystify 
> would become intuitive.
> I guess some have. Probably many have, given where I started. But over a 
> year into this and I can't even use my own frigging floppy drive without 
> asking for help? [I checked a couple books I have. I went to 
> for help with the commands. I posted on another forum. 
> Two hours have passed. Now I'm trying you guys.] I'm *tired* of this.
> If you can forgive the rant, I'd appreciate any suggestions.
> Sincerely,
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Eric Weir
> Decatur, GA  USA
> eeweir at

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