Access Control Lists and Permissions Repair under Leopard

Access Control Lists (ACLs) were introduced in Mac OS X 10.4. ACLs allow a user to configure files and folders with advanced settings (such as delete permissions) that are not available from the Get Info menu.

Get Info sample window

ACLs are useful in situations when you have multiple individuals or groups working on collaborative projects because they override the single-user, single-group restriction that is the default of Mac OS X client and traditional Unix operating systems. Nevertheless, unless you run OS X Server or want to share the same iPhoto or iTunes library amongst multiple users of the same machine, you may never have a need to configure an ACL.

That being said, Apple’s developers, for whatever reason, have not yet addressed an annoying quirk that only affects Leopard (10.5) users who repair permissions using Disk Utility. Even after applying the recent 10.5.1 software update, Leopard users will have to wait an extended period for repair permissions to identify a number of files that unexpectedly contain ACLs.

Repair Permissions in progress

In my tests that I documented using the Console utility, it took Disk Utility almost 19 minutes to repair permissions on my 120 GB laptop.

2008-01-09 10:19:35 -0800: Repairing permissions for “w”
2008-01-09 10:24:14 -0800: Permissions differ on “private/var/log/secure.log”, should be -rw——- , they are -rw-r—– .
2008-01-09 10:24:16 -0800: ACL found but not expected on “System/Library/User Template/English.lproj/Sites”.
2008-01-09 10:24:23 -0800: ACL found but not expected on “System/Library/User Template/English.lproj/Desktop”.
2008-01-09 10:24:23 -0800: ACL found but not expected on “System/Library/User Template/English.lproj/Documents”.
2008-01-09 10:24:23 -0800: ACL found but not expected on “System/Library/User Template/English.lproj/Downloads”.
2008-01-09 10:38:23 -0800:
2008-01-09 10:38:23 -0800: Permissions repair complete
2008-01-09 10:38:23 -0800:

Take Control of Permissions in Mac OS X, by Brian Tanaka, Ebook: $10.



Filed under Apple Software, Troubleshooting

2 responses to “Access Control Lists and Permissions Repair under Leopard

  1. francesco

    I’m suffering the same problem on my 10.5.1 leopard….
    Isn’t there a way to fix this?…no freeware astonishing program that could help us?…it’s pretty annoyng to wait so much each time I repair my permission….

  2. Trey

    240 GB drive with around 50 GB of data. I gave up after 15 hours. It was checking and repairing three items a second.

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