Your submission was sent successfully! Close

You have successfully unsubscribed! Close

Thank you for signing up for our newsletter!
In these regular emails you will find the latest updates about Ubuntu and upcoming events where you can meet our team.Close

Share access controls

There are several options available to control access for each individual shared directory. Using the [share] example, this section will cover some common options.


Groups define a collection of users who have a common level of access to particular network resources. This provides granularity in controlling access to such resources. For example, let’s consider a group called “qa” is defined to contain the users Freda, Danika, and Rob, and then a group called “support” is created containing the users Danika, Jeremy, and Vincent. Any network resources configured to allow access by the “qa” group will be available to Freda, Danika, and Rob, but not Jeremy or Vincent. Danika can access resources available to both groups since she belongs to both the “qa” and “support” groups. All other users only have access to resources explicitly allowed to the group they are part of.

When mentioning groups in the Samba configuration file, /etc/samba/smb.conf, the recognized syntax is to preface the group name with an “@” symbol. For example, if you wished to use a group named sysadmin in a certain section of the /etc/samba/smb.conf, you would do so by entering the group name as @sysadmin. If a group name has a space in it, use double quotes, like "@LTS Releases".

Read and write permissions

Read and write permissions define the explicit rights a computer or user has to a particular share. Such permissions may be defined by editing the /etc/samba/smb.conf file and specifying the explicit permissions inside a share.

For example, if you have defined a Samba share called share and wish to give read-only permissions to the group of users known as “qa”, but wanted to allow writing to the share by the group called “sysadmin” and the user named “vincent”, then you could edit the /etc/samba/smb.conf file and add the following entries under the [share] entry:

read list = @qa
write list = @sysadmin, vincent

Another possible Samba permission is to declare administrative permissions to a particular shared resource. Users having administrative permissions may read, write, or modify any information contained in the resource the user has been given explicit administrative permissions to.

For example, if you wanted to give the user Melissa administrative permissions to the share example, you would edit the /etc/samba/smb.conf file, and add the following line under the [share] entry:

admin users = melissa

After editing /etc/samba/smb.conf, reload Samba for the changes to take effect by running the following command:

sudo smbcontrol smbd reload-config

Filesystem permissions

Now that Samba has been configured to limit which groups have access to the shared directory, the filesystem permissions need to be checked.

Traditional Linux file permissions do not map well to Windows NT Access Control Lists (ACLs). Fortunately POSIX ACLs are available on Ubuntu servers, which provides more fine-grained control. For example, to enable ACLs on /srv in an EXT3 filesystem, edit /etc/fstab and add the acl option:

UUID=66bcdd2e-8861-4fb0-b7e4-e61c569fe17d /srv  ext3    noatime,relatime,acl 0       1

Then remount the partition:

sudo mount -v -o remount /srv

This example assumes /srv is on a separate partition. If /srv, or wherever you have configured your share path, is part of the / partition then a reboot may be required.

To match the Samba configuration above, the “sysadmin” group will be given read, write, and execute permissions to /srv/samba/share, the “qa” group will be given read and execute permissions, and the files will be owned by the username “Melissa”. Enter the following in a terminal:

sudo chown -R melissa /srv/samba/share/
sudo chgrp -R sysadmin /srv/samba/share/
sudo setfacl -R -m g:qa:rx /srv/samba/share/

The setfacl command above gives execute permissions to all files in the /srv/samba/share directory, which you may or may not want.

Now from a Windows client you should notice the new file permissions are implemented. See the acl and setfacl man pages for more information on POSIX ACLs.

Further reading

This page was last modified 11 months ago. Help improve this document in the forum.