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I am trying to prevent the guest user from accessing software-center (I know it can't install anything, but I don't even want it to browse)

The file is owned by root and in group root.

I run: sudo chmod o= /usr/bin/software-center

Afterwards I run ls -l and get the following output: lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 40 Sep 10 14:28 /usr/bin/software-center -> ../share software- center/software-center

The first part of the output indicates chmod didn't do anything and the second part I don't understand.

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

If you only want root user to have access to the software center, you will need to change the 'other' access to the file /usr/share/software-center

sudo chmod 750 /usr/share/software-center

If you want to restore access to software center for your user you can change the group for the file /usr/share/software-center to your group:

sudo chown root:username /usr/share/software-center

this will result in only root and you having access.

If you want other users to also have access, you can make a group for this purpose, eg 'install' and make the group access 'install', and add any users you want to give access to this group.

As pointed out, /usr/bin/software-center is a link, not the actual file so you can't change its permissions

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From man chmod

chmod never changes the permissions of symbolic links; the chmod system call cannot change their permissions. This is not a problem since the permissions of symbolic links are never used. However, for each symbolic link listed on the command line, chmod changes the permissions of the pointed-to file. In contrast, chmod ignores symbolic links encountered during recursive directory traversals.

Check the permissions of the target instead: ll /usr/share/software-center/software-center.

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