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Chown command.png
The chown command
Original author(s)Ken Thompson,
Dennis Ritchie
Developer(s)AT&T Bell Laboratories
Initial releaseNovember 3, 1971; 50 years ago (1971-11-03)
Operating systemUnix and Unix-like, IBM i

The command chown /ˈn/, an abbreviation of change owner, is used on Unix and Unix-like operating systems to change the owner of file system files, directories. Unprivileged (regular) users who wish to change the group membership of a file that they own may use chgrp.

The ownership of any file in the system may only be altered by a super-user. A user cannot give away ownership of a file, even when the user owns it. Similarly, only a member of a group can change a file's group ID to that group.[1]

The chown command has also been ported to the IBM i operating system.[2]


chown name_of_new_owner file_name
chown newuser:newgroup file_name

See also[edit]


  1. ^ BSD Man page for chown, March 31, 1994
  2. ^ IBM. "IBM System i Version 7.2 Programming Qshell" (PDF). Retrieved 2020-09-05.

External links[edit]