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I was trying to install some plugins for my navigational program when I noticed I can't do changes to the file. And after a while I noticed that I'm not allowed to do any changes to the filesystem.

The properties-permissions window for the filesystem tells me:

You are not the owner, so you can't change these permissions.

How did that happend? How can't I own my computer (only account on this laptop).

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What files were you trying to change? Special system files require root access to modify. –  Seth Mar 15 '13 at 22:29
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sudo vi {filename} or gksudo gedit {filename} –  pfeiffep Mar 15 '13 at 22:47
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marked as duplicate by Eliah Kagan, Eric Carvalho, Luis Alvarado Mar 16 '13 at 3:58

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2 Answers

Your user does not own the file. On all Linux and Unix systems, there is a special user called root, who's job is to "own" all system files so an ordinary user cannot accidentally break the system. You must also be root to perform some administrative actions.

You can perform changes as root by prefixing a command with sudo, and entering your password. To open a root file explorer (WARNING!!! VERY dangerous, easy to cause a lot of harm), press CTRL+ALT+T and then type gksudo nautilus followed by Enter. Enter your password at the prompt, and change away (be VERY careful).

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+1 just to add a bit, this is what makes Linux inherently more secure than a Windows machine, malware cannot install in the root folders hence it cannot bork your Linux system easily. Without sudo things can only be installed in your home folder, while this can frag you home folder, it cannot easily damage your system physically(hard drive ect.) or the OS(Ubuntu its self.) A fragged Home folder can be a pain, but assuming you backed up your important files all you will lose are some settings that need to be redone. Just change the username and then recreate then restore the backups. –  TrailRider Mar 16 '13 at 1:00
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It is one of the basic security features of Linux that you never have root rights by default. This is the reason why you have to type your password every time you want to install software, e.g. via Ubuntu Software Center. Open the files you want to change using the "sudo"-command. You will have to type your password (the same you use to login to Ubuntu). Now you are able to save your changes.

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