I want to write the Ubuntu analogue of a "batch file" (a shell script). But I don't know how to use chmod +x filename command to make it so that the script can be run. Nor do I know where to use it.

  • 1
    As a site note: Linux doesn't use Batch-files. It uses Shell-scripts. These are mostly executed by BASH (Bourne Again SHell). – s3lph Apr 5 '14 at 21:16
  • @the_Seppi the default shell in Ubuntu is dash (the Debian Almquist Shell) not bash though dash and bash are similar and you can use bash if you want to. – Warren Hill May 2 '14 at 8:52
  • This may have been unclear, but was never off-topic. Did people think this was about writing actual batch files for Windows and DOS? chmod doesn't really apply to those OSes and "batch file" was in scare quotes. The OP here (last seen 2014) wanted to write and run something similar to a batch file. Unlike in Unix-like OSes, Windows (and DOS) users don't have to use anything like chmod +x to make it so they can launch their scripts the same way they launch executable binaries. I've edited a bit to clarify the question, and I'm voting to reopen. – Eliah Kagan Jul 7 '17 at 17:26

In Short:

chmod +x on a file (your script) only means, that you'll make it executable. Right click on your script and chose Properties -> Permissions -> Allow executing file as program, leaves you with the exact same result as the command in terminal.

If a file you want to change permissions on is located within the systems directory you may need to be root, like so: (be careful, while using sudo command)

sudo chmod +x /usr/share/testfolder/aFile 

Also it is not clear, what exactly you want to archive here. Please edit your question and give some more detail on the actual problem!

You can also refer to this question, for more information: chmod u+x' versus 'chmod +x

In Long:

Type man chmod in a terminal window (Ctrl+Alt+T) and you'll get the following output:

NAME: chmod - change file mode bits


chmod [OPTION]... MODE[,MODE]... FILE...
chmod [OPTION]... --reference=RFILE FILE...


This  manual page documents the GNU version of chmod.  chmod changes the
file mode bits of each given file according to mode, which can be either
a  symbolic representation of changes to make, or an octal number repre‐
senting the bit pattern for the new mode bits.

The format of a symbolic mode  is  [ugoa...][[+-=][perms...]...],  where
perms  is  either  zero or more letters from the set rwxXst, or a single
letter from the set ugo.  Multiple symbolic modes can  be  given,  sepa‐
rated by commas.

A  combination  of  the letters ugoa controls which users' access to the
file will be changed: the user who owns  it  (u),  other  users  in  the
file's  group (g), other users not in the file's group (o), or all users
(a).  If none of these are given, the effect is as if a were given,  but
bits that are set in the umask are not affected.

The  operator  +  causes  the selected file mode bits to be added to the
existing file mode bits of each file; - causes them to be removed; and =
causes them to be added and causes unmentioned bits to be removed except
that a directory's unmentioned set  user  and  group  ID  bits  are  not

The  letters  rwxXst  select file mode bits for the affected users: read
(r), write (w), execute (or search for directories) (x),  execute/search
only  if  the  file is a directory or already has execute permission for
some user (X), set user or group ID on execution (s),  restricted  dele‐
tion  flag  or sticky bit (t).  Instead of one or more of these letters,
you can specify exactly one of the letters ugo: the permissions  granted
to  the  user  who  owns  the file (u), the permissions granted to other
users who are members of the  file's  group  (g),  and  the  permissions
granted  to  users  that  are in neither of the two preceding categories

A numeric mode is from one to four octal digits (0-7), derived by adding
up  the  bits with values 4, 2, and 1.  Omitted digits are assumed to be
leading zeros.  The first digit selects the set  user  ID  (4)  and  set
group ID (2) and restricted deletion or sticky (1) attributes.  The sec‐
ond digit selects permissions for the user who owns the file: read  (4),
write  (2),  and  execute  (1);  the third selects permissions for other
users in the file's group, with the same  values;  and  the  fourth  for
other users not in the file's group, with the same values.

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 sym‐
bolic link listed on the command line, chmod changes the permissions  of
the  pointed-to file.  In contrast, chmod ignores symbolic links encoun‐
tered during recursive directory traversals.


chmod clears the set-group-ID bit of a regular file if the file's  group
ID  does  not  match  the user's effective group ID or one of the user's
supplementary group IDs, unless the  user  has  appropriate  privileges.
Additional  restrictions may cause the set-user-ID and set-group-ID bits
of MODE or RFILE to be ignored.  This behavior depends on the policy and
functionality of the underlying chmod system call.  When in doubt, check
the underlying system behavior.


Change the mode of each FILE to MODE.

   -c, --changes
          like verbose but report only when a change is made

          do not treat `/' specially (the default)

          fail to operate recursively on `/'

   -f, --silent, --quiet
          suppress most error messages

   -v, --verbose
          output a diagnostic for every file processed

          use RFILE's mode instead of MODE values

   -R, --recursive
          change files and directories recursively

   --help display this help and exit

          output version information and exit

   Each MODE is of the form `[ugoa]*([-+=]([rwxXst]*|[ugo]))+'.
  • This answer is funny to me, because I read the man page first, before coming here because the man page says nothing about +x. Is there a reason you pasted the entire man page here? Your 'in short' was the answer I needed (what is +x on chmod?), but from my (perhaps ignorant) perspective, it is not a summary of the man page you pasted. – Alex Mar 18 at 16:40
  • 1
    You are exactly right to point this out Alex, that is kind of funny! I added the entire man page for the sake of completion, since I would prefer it that way if I was to be the one looking for information, not yet obtained. I actually found in the past, that a lot of man pages are like that, what you describe here. Glad I could be of help! – v2r Mar 18 at 16:52
  • "chmod +x on a file (your script) only means, that you'll make it executable" I guess you mean executable to all users, right? That's how I interpret the man page at least. chmod u+x would make it executable to only you – Jim Aho Mar 22 at 16:40

A batch file and a shell script are two terms meaning effectively the same under Linux. The term script is far more often used, though.

The most simple shell script file just contains commands as you'd type them on the command line (that is, the Bash command interpreter). In theory you can even replace the interpreter with any language you like (and have an interpreter for). To be more explicit, it's suggested you start your first line with

#!/bin/sh (if you wan't maximum portability with legacy systems)


#!/bin/bash (if you want some extra features, you probably don't care about today)

After this line enter your commands, one on each line. There are lots of extra constructs beyond the scope of this questions, see man bash or http://www.tldp.org/LDP/Bash-Beginners-Guide/Bash-Beginners-Guide.pdf (for Beginners) or http://www.tldp.org/LDP/abs/abs-guide.pdf (for more advanced questions).

To actually run your script, there are two requirements: First, the interpreter process needs to read the file, and second it checks if it is marked as executable. For convenience reasons it's also useful to be able to write to your script (so you can make changes or fixes should need be).

Assuming further that you want team members and other also to be able to run (and see) your script, but that you don't want them to manipulate it, the combination of

  • execute rights for all (a+x or +x, as a is the default),
  • read rights for all (a+r or +r, as a is again the default),
  • write permissions just for you (u=w)

are usually sensible values of your file permissions. You can type the single actions concatenated, separated with a comma.

While this "action language" is very fascinating (note the difference of the + and the = operator which result in different outcomes depending of the permission setting before you changed them), they are tedious to type.

As all of the actions create bit masks that are applied internally, you can type the bitmasks (see man chmod for details) also directly.

For a shellscript chmod 755 myscript.sh makes most sense in at least 95% of all cases.


First, your script must declare which interpreter to use. You do this in the first line of the file. If it's a shell script, it should be #!/bin/sh or #!/bin/bash.

So here's a script that writes your username: echo-whoami.sh

#!/bin/sh echo $(whoami)

To make it executable, use chmod +x echo-whoami.sh. Then you can run it using ./echo-whoami.sh.

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