Why does "system" own my hard drives?

Posted:
in macOS edited January 2014
Why does "system" own my hard drives?



Does it hurt to change ownership and make me (the owner of the Mac, the only user on the Mac, and the admin of the Mac) the owner of the hard drive?

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 19
    I really really really suggest not changing it. I expect that anything that can change things at that level will be doing so as root and ignoring your permissions, but just incase something like the web server logs are being saved by 'system' (which I hope they're not, but you get the idea), you don;t want it to not be able to write because it doesn't have permission.



    However, my other non-system partitions are owned by me and not system. But they have permissions disabled on them anyway.
  • Reply 2 of 19
    Because you're not supposed to be putting things at the top level of your hard drive.



    Put your things in your home. The top level of the drive is readable by anyone.



    I recommend against changing it. If you're not careful, you could break it so other users can't access things they should. I'm not just talking about human users; the computer itself has several user accounts for the tasks it carries out.
  • Reply 3 of 19
    Fight the System!



    But don't go messing with its permissions or it'll get cranky
  • Reply 4 of 19
    dfryerdfryer Posts: 140member
    Another advantage to leaving the top level in control of "system" is security - if someone gets access to your account, do you want them to be able to nuke everything?



    although it probably doesn't matter...
  • Reply 5 of 19
    smirclesmircle Posts: 1,035member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by dstranathan

    Why does "system" own my hard drives?



    Basically, because the foundations on which MacOS X is built were developed for the big irons - servers with hundreds or thousands of users. In this setup, each individual user was better locked into his home account - else total chaos would have happened if anyone could put files anywhere.



    It doesn't really make sense on our "personal computers" - but it is so deeply ingrained into the whole unix concept that you cannot change it.
  • Reply 6 of 19
    costiquecostique Posts: 1,084member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by dstranathan

    Why does "system" own my hard drives?



    And who else does?



    Remember that everybody has a home except for homeless ones. Your home is your home dir with a house icon. The world outside is not yours by definition: you can look at it safely, but you have no rights outside your home. Does this metaphore make sense? The system owns your computer because it is the system who runs it, not you.



    In fact, this is not even a restriction. What do you want to do outside your home dir that can't be done inside it? Make new folders, move files around and delete them as you wish. Your home - your problems. Just leave the system alone. It wants to make sure it's happy in its home where nobody comes at will and cuts off the wires, breaks the dishes or moves the furniture around. Live and let live is the main idea behind this organization. One fine day, I'm sure, Mac OS will even not let a casual user know that there is anything outside her home.
  • Reply 7 of 19
    Quote:

    Originally posted by dstranathan

    Does it hurt to change ownership and make me (the owner of the Mac, the only user on the Mac, and the admin of the Mac) the owner of the hard drive?



    Why do you think you need to do this? Do you have control issues? 8)
  • Reply 8 of 19
    Quote:

    Originally posted by dstranathan

    Why does "system" own my hard drives?





    Look at it this way, YOU own the system, the SYSTEM owns the Hard drives, The hard drvies own the bites, tbe bites own the bits, and so own, it all goes down the 'food chain'



  • Reply 9 of 19
    nanonano Posts: 177member
    I just changed it so i own the hard drive and that anyone can read or write anything in it! Guess what? nothing has changed except my icon arrangments are now permanent.
  • Reply 10 of 19
    kickahakickaha Posts: 8,760member
    Yes, and a simple AppleScript sent to you via email can wipe your hard drive clean. Whoo.



    Sorry, but it's a short-sighted and silly thing to do.
  • Reply 11 of 19
    costiquecostique Posts: 1,084member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Kickaha

    Yes, and a simple AppleScript sent to you via email can wipe your hard drive clean. Whoo.



    Sorry, but it's a short-sighted and silly thing to do.




    Damn true. </sigh>
  • Reply 12 of 19
    *opens AppleScript Studio*



    *opens Mail*



    *pulls Nano's e-mail address from the AI admin page*
  • Reply 13 of 19
    dmband0026dmband0026 Posts: 2,345member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Nano

    I just changed it so i own the hard drive and that anyone can read or write anything in it! Guess what? nothing has changed except my icon arrangments are now permanent.



    Not only is that a huge security risk, but it'll more than likely cause your system to flip out and Kernal Panic a lot. It happened to me when I changed permissions on some stuff in my home folder. I got three kernal panics in an hour before I got fed up and changed it back. Now everything is back to normal and my system is as stable as ever.
  • Reply 14 of 19
    kickahakickaha Posts: 8,760member
    And now, Nano, that we've thoroughly (I hope) scared the crap outta you... fixing it easy. Open Disk Utility, and 'Repair Permissions'. It'll take a while, given what you've done, but it'll get things back right and secure.
  • Reply 15 of 19
    vox barbaravox barbara Posts: 2,021member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by The General

    Look at it this way, YOU own the system, the SYSTEM owns the Hard drives, The hard drvies own the bites, tbe bites own the bits, and so own, it all goes down the 'food chain'







    well the metaph. sucks a bit

    i think apple should consider to make "some possibilities" unvisible by default. it simply doesn't make sense to modify privileges for the vast majority. why should one modify permissions - ... er ... systemwide ... er ?



    m 2c
  • Reply 16 of 19
    dfilerdfiler Posts: 3,420member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Kickaha

    Yes, and a simple AppleScript sent to you via email can wipe your hard drive clean. Whoo.



    Sorry, but it's a short-sighted and silly thing to do.




    This point can't be stressed enough. By having permission to modify/delete everything on your computer, so does every virus or trojan horse which finds it's way onto your computer.



    I would highly advise storing things in the recommended directories. This allows the well thought out and deliberate permissions structure to perform it's purpose, protecting your data. The permissions and directory structure of OS X aren't simply a hold over from UNIX or antiquated in any way. They are highly evolved and have a few decades of trial and error behind them. By error, we are refering to people loosing everything by simply opening an email attachment or word document.
  • Reply 17 of 19
    gargoylegargoyle Posts: 660member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by dstranathan

    Why does "system" own my hard drives?



    Does it hurt to change ownership and make me (the owner of the Mac, the only user on the Mac, and the admin of the Mac) the owner of the hard drive?




    Answer 1( The long one)

    If you want to learn the in's and outs of the "System" the I suggest you read the docs in the developer library. There is a LOT more to it than System just "owning" the files.



    If you are not interested in knowing the in's and out's of the system stuff, then let it do its job - and it will let you do yours.



    Answer 2( The short one)

    If its not broke, dont fix it!!!



  • Reply 18 of 19
    ipodandimacipodandimac Posts: 3,273member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by dstranathan

    Why does "system" own my hard drives?



    why does it matter? your computer works better than any pc could ever hope to, so i say let it do what it wants. i mean honestly--are you jealous of the 'system' or something?
  • Reply 19 of 19
    dfilerdfiler Posts: 3,420member
    We all (nearly all) just found something to agree on for once.



    Look at the AI unity.

    *sniff*
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