Changing permissions for a group of files via nautilus

Stephen R Laniel steve at
Fri Oct 7 03:01:37 UTC 2005

On Thu, Oct 06, 2005 at 10:53:03PM -0400, Richard Querin wrote:
> subfolders and files it contains. I understand how to give ownership and write
> permissions on the individual files to my username while I'm root, however I
> can only modify these on a file by file basis. If I highlight a group of files
> in Nautilus, the permission and ownership properties cannot be changed.

The properties probably can't be changed in Nautilus because

1) they're owned by root and
2) you're not logged in as root.

To do anything to a file that root owns, you need to have
root permissions. In Ubuntu, the way you do this is with the
sudo command. Have you learned about sudo? In brief, this is
what you'd do at the command line:

sudo chmod -R [permissions] [directory name]

where '[permissions]' is something like 'u+r' (give the
owner of the directory Read access to it), 'ug+w' (give
owner and group Write access), etc. Let me know if you need
more detail on this aspect of it; all of this stuff is
(albeit cryptically) in the man page for chmod.

> I'm trying to do this via nautilus and the properties dialog. If it's quicker
> to do from the terminal, please let me know either way.

If you weren't changing files owned by root, it would be
super-straightforward and probably just as fast in Nautilus
as at the command line: in Nautilus, right-click on the
folder, go down to Properties, and go to the Permissions
tab. You should see everything you need in there.

Stephen R. Laniel
steve at
+(617) 308-5571
PGP key:
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