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  • Understanding UMASK value in Linux

    What is umask value?

    In computing, umask is a command that determines the default permission to be set on any file or directory is created. It also refers to a function that sets the mask, and to the mask itself, which is formally known as the file mode creation mask.

    What is default umask value?

    Now this question can be tricky or simple depending on the interviewer/person asking the question. Umask value is set for different purpose with different value like files, directories, home directory for any user.

    So, answering individually each question

    Default umask value for creating new directory is 0022 i.e. 0755
    Default umask value for creating new file is 0022 i.e. 0644
    Default umask value for using useradd command is 0002 i.e. 0700

    How umask value is calculated?

    To understand the umask value you need to be very clear with the permission concept used in Linux/Unix. Now here I will be very brief explaining the permission part as that would divert me with the original topic.

    The Octal notation for permission in Linux/Unix
    Octal Value
    No Permission
    Execute only
    Write only
    Write and execute
    Read only
    Read and execute
    Read and write
    Full permission

    Now you don't need to memorize the above chart. The permission is calculated using binary digits as shown below

    Octal Value
    Execute Only
    Write only
    Read only
    Using the above chart you can get the value of 0-7 octal permission

    Coming back to calculate umask value.
    Full permission for any directory is considered 777 and 666 for any file which acts as the base permission for calculation umask value for directory and file respectively.

    To give a default permission of 755 to every directory to be created
    777 - 755 = 022

    So the umask value to be set will 022 for getting a default permission of 755

    Let us take another example
    To give a default permission of 700 to every directory to be created
    777 - 700 = 077

    So the umask value to be set will 077 for getting a default permission of 700

    How to view default umask value?

    Use the below command to view umask value in octal mode
    # umask

    To view umask value in symbolic mode

    # umask -S

    Why does the default umask value contains 4 digits?

    The first digit in 0022 defines the special permission value. In case you want to set any special permission to every file/directory to be created then you can define the value accordingly.

    For understanding all the special permission and their value follow the below link

    How to set default value of umask ?

    You can set the default umask value temporarily or permanently as per your requirement.

    To temporarily set the umask value run the below command on your terminal
    # umask new_umask_value
    # umask 0077
    You can verify the same using umask command

    To permanently set the umask value for files/directory creation
    Add the umask value to be set inside ~/.bashrc or ~/.bash_profile as every time you login the above files are executed updating the new umask value.

    To understand the difference between .bashrc and .bash_profile file follow the below link
    How to set environment (PATH) variable permanently in Linux

    IMPORTANT NOTE : But if you execute useradd command the home directory created has 700 as default permission which means it doesnot takes the umask value defined locally. For useradd command umask value is set differently inside /etc/login.defs
    # less /etc/login.defs
    # The permission mask is initialized to this value. If not specified,
    # the permission mask will be initialized to 022.
    UMASK           077

    As you can see above the default umask value for creating home directory for any user is 077.

    Understanding UMASK value in Linux Understanding UMASK value in Linux Reviewed by admin on Monday, May 19, 2014 Rating: 5

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