Home > Programming, Shells, Uncategorized > Change Unix File Permissions Using C

Change Unix File Permissions Using C

This is a small program written in C used to change permissions of files in Unix.

You may ask why would someone want to use a C snippet instead of a quick “chmod” shell script?

Well, a simple “chown” script works just fine for cases where you don’t have a ridiculously large amount of files. Things get painfully slow when besides having millions of files you also have millions of directories. In those rare cases there is nothing faster than C.

If you have a 64 bit operating system you can compile this code with “-m64” flag for better performance.


#define PATH "/export/home/egloo"
#define UID 501
#define GID 501

int file_count = 0;
char cmd[128];

static int callback(const char *fpath, const struct stat *sb, int typeflag) {
// Check if it's a file or a directory
if (typeflag == FTW_D || typeflag == FTW_F) {

// Apply new permissions
chown(fpath, UID, GID);

// Send progress notification
if ( 0 == ( file_count % NOTIFICATION_INTERVAL ) ){
fprintf( stderr, "%ld\n", file_count );
sprintf(cmd,"/bin/echo \"%i files processed\" | /bin/mail -s \"CHOWN PROGRESS\" user@domain.com", file_count);

// Continue FTW
return 0;

int main(int argc, char **argv) {
ftw(PATH, callback, 256);

  1. No comments yet.
  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: