I have a non-admin user in Ubuntu 12.04 LTS desktop 32-bit OS to whom I need to give permissions only to access /var/log as he needs to monitor logs and create reports related to it.

I do not want to give him admin access at any cost.

How can I achieve this?

  • 1
    Really depends on the way you want to go. You could give read permissions to world: "chmod a+r" or you could enable acl (Access Control List) on your hard-drive (its a mount option) which gives you lower granularity in setting read+write permissions. – tombert Nov 26 '13 at 7:27
  • @tombert Agreed, but I was worried to do that, as to it can also affect the systems booting process, if set incorrectly. and I am not that used to with ACL. :P – Hrish Nov 27 '13 at 3:51

Permission to view log files is granted to users being in the group adm.

To add a user to this group on the command line issue:

sudo usermod -aG adm <USER>
  • Thanks man it worked like a charm. But do you know where I can check the list of default permissions, of such system generated groups? I know that my English is not that great, hence let me know if you do not understand my question... it's perfectly fine with me! .... :P – Hrish Nov 27 '13 at 3:55
  • You may want to look that up with gnome-system-tools from the GUI: askubuntu.com/questions/66718/how-to-manage-users-and-groups. The link I gave you in my answer also has a list of defaults - scroll up the page. – Takkat Nov 27 '13 at 7:34
  • Be aware that being in the adm group you can also sudo. – tombert Nov 28 '13 at 6:49
  • @tombert nope - adm != admin it is in no way related to sudoers. – Takkat Nov 28 '13 at 7:42
  • @Takkat: thx, I mixed it up. – tombert Nov 28 '13 at 8:47

Check this out for using ACL:


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