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How do the project and scratch file permissions work?

CSC sets the permissions of project and scratch directories so that all project members have access to the folders. More specifically, the folders are owned by system administrator account but the associated unix group has read and write rights. In addition, the set gid permission is also enabled so that any new files and folders are owned by project group by default. Note that also the set gid permissions is inherited to all new folders.

You can check the permissions using ls -l command. Correct default permissions for a subfolder are drwxrws---. Note the small s letter instead of x in the group permissions. If you see capital S instead, the directory doesn't have execute permissions which are needed for group-level access.

If the set gid permission of any subdirectory is removed on purpose or by accident, all new files and folders within that subdirectory will be owned by the user's default personal group and other group members can't access them. If the access is needed then the owner of those files and folders should change the group and fix the permissions. Note that many tools and installation scripts do modify the default permissions.

Example of missing SGID permission:

[maijam@puhti project_2009999]$ mkdir -m 00770 demofolder
[maijam@puhti project_2009999]$ ls -l
total 0
drwxrwx---. 2 maijam project_2009999       4096 Feb 15 14:52 demofolder
[maijam@puhti project_2009999]$ touch demofolder/my-file
[maijam@puhti project_2009999]$ ls -l demofolder/
total 0
-rw-rw----. 1 maijam maijam 0 Feb 15 14:52 my-file
[maijam@puhti project_2009999]$ chmod g+s demofolder/
[maijam@puhti project_2009999]$ touch demofolder/my-other-file
[maijam@puhti project_2009999]$ ls -l demofolder/
total 0
-rw-rw----. 1 maijam maijam          0 Feb 15 14:52 my-file
-rw-rw----. 1 maijam project_2009999 0 Feb 15 14:53 my-other-file

Example of fixing the permissions:

[maijam@puhti project_2009999]$ chgrp -R project_2009999 demofolder/
[maijam@puhti project_2009999]$ lfs find demofolder -type d -0 | xargs -0 chmod 2770
[maijam@puhti project_2009999]$ lfs find demofolder -type f -0 | xargs -0 chmod g+rwX

More about Linux file permissions at RedHat documentation: Linux permissions: SUID, SGID, and sticky bit

Last update: March 24, 2022