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How can I see the permissions for a file (e.g. if I want to recreate those permissions for another file using chmod)?

For example after I run chmod 644 on foo.txt, what command, if any, can I run on foo.txt which returns 644?

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You might want to try at unix.stackexchange.com if you don't get any answers here. All I know of is ls -l foo.txt which will give you the rwxrwx--- string which you can convert to octal yourself (but I guess you know that already). –  Lizzan Oct 18 '10 at 18:30

3 Answers 3

up vote 2 down vote accepted

If you type ls -l in terminal you get the permission for your file

drwxr-xr-x   7 ---  staff   238 Apr 14  2010 images
-rw-r--r--   1 ---  staff  2628 Aug 26  2009 index.html
drwxr-xr-x@ 11 ---  staff   374 Feb 28  2010 simplemvc

You can use table below to convert rwxr-xr-x to number and vice versa:

alt text

And get more detail here.

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The easiest way to get the octal permissions from the command line is by using stat(1) with a format specifier.

You can read more in the manual page, but the following will give you what you want:

stat -f "%OMp%OLp" <file or directory>

%OMp returns the setuid/setgid/sticky bits in octal and %OLp the user/group/other permissions in octal.

For example:

$ ls -ld Data
drwxr-xr-x  6 mj  staff  204 20 Feb 11:09 Data
$ stat -f "%OMp%OLp" Data   
0755
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The easiest way I'm aware of that will list all permissions, including ACLs, is simply to use the Get Info command from the Finder on the concerned file.

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