chown -R files you need to

Geoff Williams



1,086 latest version

2.3 quality score

Version information

  • 1.1.2 (latest)
  • 1.1.1
  • 1.1.0
  • 1.0.1
  • 1.0.0
  • 0.2.0
  • 0.1.4
  • 0.1.3
  • 0.1.2
  • 0.1.1
  • 0.1.0
released Apr 17th 2020

Start using this module


geoffwilliams/chown_r — version 1.1.2 Apr 17th 2020

Build Status


Table of Contents

  1. Description
  2. Setup - The basics of getting started with chown_r
  3. Usage - Configuration options and additional functionality
  4. Limitations - OS compatibility, etc.
  5. Development - Guide for contributing to the module


This module provides a handy way to run the chown -R command to perform bulk directory ownership/group changes where required.

While the equivalent result is also possible using a file resource in recursive mode, doing so can create a huge number of resources, placing an unnecessary load on the Puppet Master.

This module achieves the same result at the cost of reduced change reporting granularity: A maximum of one change per resource will ever be reported no matter how many underlying files need to have their ownership fixed. This is inline with the default behavior of the underlying chown system command.



  • Directories referred to must already exist on the system
  • If creating these directories with Puppet, you should not specify owner or group information as this could conflict with the changes made by this module
  • Any groups and users required must be declared
  • You can pass an array of directories to check and fix recursively for permissions to save typing as long as the want_user and want_group fields are identical
  • Both want_user and want_group are mandatory parameters

Check permissions every puppet run

If your happy for Puppet to update and fix permissions as required, the following code would ensure that /foo and all its children are owned by user foo and group foo:

chown_r { "/foo":
  want_user   => "foo",
  want_group  => "foo",

Check permissions when watched resource changes

If your only ever want to perform fixes in response to a Package update AND observed incorrect ownership, the following code would ensure all /bar and all its children will be set to owner bar, group bar if required after a change to the foobar package. If the package is unchanged, then ownership will not be checked/fixed.

chown_r { "/bar":
  want_user   => "bar",
  want_group  => "bar",
  watch       => Package["foobar"],

Checking and fixing permissions on several directories at once

If you have several directories to check/fix, you can use Puppet's built in array syntax as follows to reduce the amount of typing needed. You may also specify a resource to watch for changes as desired.

chown_r { ["/somedir/appdir-1.2.3", "/shared/conf/", "/shared/data/", "/shared/log"]:
  want_user   => "app",
  want_group  => "app",


  • Only works on Unix-like OS's
  • It's possible to write code that will result in race conditions using this module, please test your code thoroughly
  • Overlapping chown_r resources are not detected by the module and must be avoided by the user
  • This module is not supported by Puppet


Pull Requests accepted