I know this is possible duplicate but I looked at other answers and wasn't satisfied with the responses. You should be able to use the chown command if you are the super user OR the owner of the file. Well, in my case I am the owner of the file, and I want to use chown. But I want to change ownership of file to super user, so I type following:

$ chown root testfile

But it gives me error:

 chown: changing ownership of `testfile': Operation not permitted

However, I am the owner of the file, and granted myself read, write, and execute permission on the file:

-rwx------  1 viggy viggy      10 Nov 14 13:01 testfile

So as the owner of the file, why can I not change ownership of the file?


You need to be root to change the ownership of a file. Ordinary users can't do that.

Otherwise it would be easy to get a root access by just using chmod to set the SETUID bit and then changing the ownership to root.

  • So the Ubuntu documentation is wrong when it says you can use chown if you are the super user OR the owner of the file. Apparently, being the owner doesn't suffice. – JohnMerlino Nov 16 '12 at 16:00

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