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smiley_lauf 04-02-2006 02:32 PM

Mount, READ and WRITE reiserfs and ext3 partitions
I have been unsuccessful in getting fstab to load, amd make the other linux partitions writable.
The closest reference I could get to what I needed to do was here

but would prefer some specific instructions on getting my hda6 reiserfs and hda7 ext3 partions writable.

Cuurent fstab looka like this for hda6 and hda7:

/dev/hda6      /media/hda6    reiserfs defaults        0      2
/dev/hda7      /media/hda7    ext3  defaults        0      2

In both the cases I am able to read but not write. I am in ubuntu.

Can anyone help?

many thanks

gilead 04-02-2006 02:45 PM

If you look at your mount points you'll probably see ownership of root:root and permissions of drwxrwxr-x. Changing the ownership/permissions of the mount points before mounting won't work because when you mount the partitions, ownership will revert to root. The easiest way to make directories writable on the partitions is to change the ownership/permissions of the mount points or their top level directories after they are mounted.

For example, after mounting try the following, using a user:group from your system:

chown -R smiley:users /media/hda6
chmod -R ug+w /media/hda6

I don't have a spare partition to test this at the moment - so back up first if you have a complicated ownership/permissions structure on those drives...

smiley_lauf 04-02-2006 04:19 PM

sorry how do I check the ownership/permissions structure on those drives? I can them post this here and we ca take it from there?

Thanks Steve,

gilead 04-02-2006 04:30 PM

Open a terminal window and type ls -ld /media/hda6 /media/hda7 - that should do it. The other commands are also for a terminal window.

smiley_lauf 04-02-2006 04:44 PM

Let's start with the hda6 drive reiserfs ofrmat (I have ext3 on another machine so am unable to chekc that right now)Here is the output. Thanks


drwxr-xr-x 23 root root 688 2006-03-30 12:19 /media/hda6
Is this a complicated o/p structure? if not can I go ahead and try the code you gave me above? How do I make this happen each time aI boot, I am assuming I have to do this each time after I boot???? I may be wrong. Once again, many thanks,

gilead 04-02-2006 06:13 PM

Sorry, I should have shown that as ls -lR /media/hda6 /media/hda7 | more to display all of the files. Because the entries are in /etc/fstab the file systems should already be mounted. If that's the case, the ls command should show the info.

smiley_lauf 04-02-2006 06:32 PM

the | more option creates heaps of output, which part of the output shoudl I show you? Sorry, I am being very slow here?

gilead 04-02-2006 06:58 PM

No problem - what I'm doing is trying to find out whether there is just one owner of the files on those partitions or whether there are many owners. If the file listings are showing the owner as root:root for everything then it's a reasonably simple situation.

Since your mount point is under media, I'm assuming that those are data files (documents, music, video etc.) and not system files (executables, libraries, etc.) so it won't be a problem to change the ownership to a user:group of your choosing. If they are system files (for another Linux distribution for example) DON'T DO THE FOLLOWING.

If the files are data files, you can run the chown and chmod commands from earlier. It's a one-off step that won't need to be repeated. Just make sure you use a user/group that exists on your system:

chown -R smiley:users /media/hda6
chmod -R ug+w /media/hda6
chown -R smiley:users /media/hda7
chmod -R ug+w /media/hda7

The risks here are:
- If the files are not data files and in fact belong to another Linux system, changing ownership/permissions can break the normal operation of that system and is very bad;
- If there are multiple owners of files (e.g. you own one directory, a friend owns another and the person who sold you the PC owns a third directory), that separation of ownership is lost and everything is owned by one person. This is inconvenient but only a "little" bad in the scheme of things :)

smiley_lauf 04-02-2006 07:32 PM

Thanks, I am afraid they are system files (another linux OS), so I guess i am stuffed?? Can we not specify which directory on the partition say /home/smiley, ?


gilead 04-02-2006 07:41 PM

Yep, you can certainly do that - if you use something like:

chown -R smiley:users /media/hda6/home/smiley
chmod -R ug+w /media/hda6/home/smiley

It should work just fine.

smiley_lauf 04-02-2006 08:08 PM

ok, I will give it a tryright now, and report back asap

smiley_lauf 04-02-2006 08:12 PM


chown: `smiley:users': invalid user
and I am sure of the spelling and case sensitivity. So what am I not doing right?

gilead 04-02-2006 08:36 PM

You'll need to run the command as root - possibly it doesn't like the ':users' part (although it shouldn't matter). Although you've probably done this, can you confirm the username with grep smiley /etc/passwd and then try:

chown -R smiley /media/hda6/home/smiley

smiley_lauf 04-02-2006 08:56 PM


$ sudo chown -R smiley /media/hda6/home/smiley
chown: `smiley': invalid user

Sorry no luck.

gilead 04-02-2006 09:43 PM

It looks like a typo and that smiley doesn't exist in /etc/fstab. The way to confirm it is to combine the check for the username with the chown statement. If smiley exists in /etc/passwd the following will work:

chown -Rc $(grep smiley /etc/passwd | cut -d: -f1) /media/hda6/home/smiley

smiley_lauf 04-02-2006 11:01 PM

Here is the next error:


$ sudo chown -Rc $(grep smiley /etc/passwd | cut -d: -f1) /media/hda6/home/smiley
chown: missing operand after `/media/hda6/home/smiley'
Try `chown --help' for more information.

gilead 04-02-2006 11:45 PM

That's because the grep is not returning anything from /etc/passwd. Sorry, I should have left a fallback choice. The following changes the ownership to root if smiley isn't found:

ZUSER=$(grep -E '^smiley' /etc/passwd | cut -d: -f1); sudo chown -Rc ${ZUSER:=root} /media/hda6/home/smiley

smiley_lauf 04-03-2006 12:44 AM


.....<whole lot of output with similar text>...
changed ownership of `/media/hda6/home/smiley' to root

Was this supposed to do this? I still can't get to write to the /home/smiley folder? or am I still very impatient? is there another step?


gilead 04-03-2006 06:07 AM

What it did was change the ownership to root because the smiley user does not exist in /etc/passwd - most likely the spelling is wrong. Once you have the same spelling for smiley as is used in /etc/passwd the command will change the ownership of the files under /media/hda6/home/smiley to smiley.

smiley_lauf 04-03-2006 09:00 AM

Ok, I have tried
$sudo chown -R smiley:users /media/hda6

and I am getting the same invalid user error.

ALSO, note, that I tried logging into the partition hda6 (ubuntu breezy) with username 'smiley', and I was told that the /.<filename> have chnaged permission to root and I can't save sessions; will aloow me to log in for 10secs; and then logged me out.

Am I royally screewed now? or can we revert to the previous permissions to allow smiley access to the drive? Alternatively, I may have to create a NEW user for that Breezy partition???

Please help.

gilead 04-03-2006 02:30 PM

Please read what I posted earlier, you will not be able to chown to smiley until that user exists and has an entry in /etc/passwd. If that user should already exist then the spelling is wrong or chown would not give the invalid user error. Once the correct spelling is used, the chown command will work.

Is this a multi-boot system and hda6 contains the home partition for another distro? If so, you're not screwed - just boot that distro, login as root and chown back to whichever user should own the files. Is that the distro where the smiley user exists? If so, user accounts are not automatically created for the other distros and this may explain why you're getting the invalid user error for smiley - have you created the user smiley in the distro where your running the chown command?

smiley_lauf 04-03-2006 04:11 PM


This is very helpful. Yes, I have created a suer by the name "smiley" and I am sure there is no spelling error. Smiley is a user on the hda6 Ubuntu Breezy, so yes, it is another distro. I will follow your instructions to reset the o/p back to smiley.


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