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Posted by gustav at 06:01AM, Tuesday, December 09th, 2003

Mac OS X, Firewire drives, and chgrp and chown

Eeep! I can't chgrp any files or directories on a firewire drive on my server. Help!

The machine is running OS X 10.1.5, and that's not going to change (it's the only truly stable install of OS X I've ever had.) The situation is this: there's a firewire drive connected to it, which contains a lot of data. The drive mounts at startup just fine, but if I navigate to it in a shell, and do an ls -la, the group for every file and directory is listed as unknown. I can't successfully change the owner or group on any file, either as a regular user, through sudo, or as root. I can chmod just fine. If I go to a directory or file on the internal hard drive, I can chgrp and chown to my heart's content.

If anyone has seen anything like this, and has an explanation or solution, I would be thrilled to hear from you.


For anyone who encounters this issue, I found a solution which works on OS 10.1.5, at least, although I didn't find it documented. Just for fun, last night, while actually sitting at the machine, I brought up the Finder's "get info" window for the drive. In 10.1.5 (I know this is different in later versions of OS X), you can select permissions in the little drop-down menu at the top of the get info window, and you see a checkbox saying something like "ignore permissions on this volume." That was checked for the firewire drive. I unchecked it, did an ls -la in the shell, and suddenly had lots of files and directories with groups other than "unknown." chgrp and chown work normally again, and all is good. Yay!
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