I am trying to copy a folder into the user/share/themes folder on Ubuntu 14.04, and it's telling me I cannot do this because I am not "owner". So I right-clicked the usr/share/themes folder > Properties > Permissions tab and tried to change the permissions but they're all greyed-out/disabled.

So then I opened up Terminal, entered groupmod TAB TAB TAB > sudo adduser jase root to try and get higher permissions or something - and it worked. I verified that I added myself as root by id jase. But that still didn't fix the problem. I still can't copy folders or files to usr/share/themes folder.

How can I do this? How do I become "owner"?


You copy the file using sudo

sudo cp file destination

For directories use th -R flag

sudo cp -R directory destination

If the files or directories have spaces, you have to quote or escape ( \ ) them

sudo cp "file with spaces" destination
sudo cp file\ with\ spaces destination

For information on Linux permissions and the use of sudo, see:




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  • I just tried that. With: jase@Jase-PC:~$ sudo cp '/home/jase/Downloads/flattastic_13_01_2014_by_nale12-d70zd5z' '/usr/share/themes' [sudo] password for jase: cp: omitting directory ‘/home/jase/Downloads/flattastic_13_01_2014_by_nale12-d70zd5z’ but then it didn't work. It said: "that it omitted something." – jay_t55 Jul 9 '14 at 22:37
  • I'm sorry but the link above - none of that stuff works. I've tried it a dozen times. And I'm not that new to linux (I've just been away from Linux for a while). Anyway, I've managed to solve it by entering sudo chown -R jase /usr/share/themes into terminal. I remember doing that last year. It's working just fine now. Thanks for your help :) – jay_t55 Jul 9 '14 at 22:41
  • That is not really a good idea (changing ownership and permissions of system files). You need the -R flag with cp for directories . cp -R directory destination. The error messages in Linux are (usually) helpful, if you do not understand them, post the command and error message. – Panther Jul 9 '14 at 22:52

You can't copy directories with cp in linux, unfortunately. The other answer is correct that you need root privledges with sudo, but you should do something like this to copy a directory:
cd /home/jase/Downloads
tar cvf flattastic.tar flattastic/
sudo mv flattastic.tar /usr/share/themes/
cd /usr/share/themes
sudo tar xvf flattastic.tar
sudo rm flattastic.tar

BUT, in your specific case, there's something else you can do, I think.

cd ~
mkdir .themes
mv /home/jase/Downloads/flattastic/ ~/.themes/flattastic
You might have to log out and back in, but I think that this would let you add themes without using sudo or root privledges at all.

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  • 1
    That is not true, use the -R flag for directories. cp -R /home/jase/Downloads/flattastic /usr/share/themes/ – Panther Jul 9 '14 at 22:52

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