Re: mtime changeable on immutable files (a bug, isn't it?)

Ragnar Hojland Espinosa (
Tue, 26 Mar 2002 20:26:16 +0100

On Mon, Mar 25, 2002 at 07:24:57PM +0100, Thomas Habets wrote:
> You can touch(1) an immutable file, which changes its mtime. Since you can't
> change the permission bits of the inode, you shouldn't be able to change the
> mtime, correct?

You could reason that since the immutable flag is set at i_mode, and i_mode
stores file modes, it should be legal to change the inode (mtime) as long as
you do not change the contents of the file.

Or at least that that would be the intention of chattr, if you re-read the

A file with the i' attribute cannot be modified: it can<AD>
not be deleted or renamed, no link can be created to this
file and no data can be written to the file. Only the
superuser can set or clear this attribute.

Even if you obviate the inode/file difference, by changing mtime you aren't
either deleting, renaming, linking or writing data to the file, so you are
consistent to the pubished documentation.

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