Working With Extended Filesystem Attributes in Linux

GarfatIn my previous post I went over standard filesystem attibutes in Linux, and how to set and view those attibutes with lsattr and chattr. You can view that post here if you are interested.

In this post we are going to go over extended filesystem attibutes. Now there is not much to this as you are probably not going to ever have to use these settings. That being said, its not a bad thing to be aware of.

Attribute names are strings that can be set and configured at will using the setfatr command. They can be viewed with the getfattr command. There are 4 namespaces of attibutes, security, system, trusted, and user.

When using getfattr ( which I pronounce as getfatter) the -d option dumps only user namespace attibutes. The rest of the namespace attributes can be viewed by using the -m option along with the namespace name. In the example below you can see that there are no user namespace attibutes set on my anaconda-ks.cfg file, however there are attibutes set in the security namespace.

[root@localhost ~]# getfattr -d anaconda-ks.cfg
[root@localhost ~]# getfattr -d -m security anaconda-ks.cfg
# file: anaconda-ks.cfg
security.selinux="unconfined_u:object_r:admin_home_t:s0"

 

Using setfattr you can define and set custom attributes. See the useless example below.

[root@localhost ~]# setfattr -n user.example -v example anaconda-ks.cfg
[root@localhost ~]# getfattr -d anaconda-ks.cfg
# file: anaconda-ks.cfg
user.example="example"

However this could be cool if you got an md5 sum on a file and dumped it into a file attibute. You could, in theory, use this process to see if someone has messed with one of your config files.

 

[root@localhost ~]# md5sum anaconda-ks.cfg
fda1aa550d3cf82423d1b1ad1ae53a13  anaconda-ks.cfg
[root@localhost ~]# setfattr -n user.md5sum -v fda1aa550d3cf82423d1b1ad1ae53a13 anaconda-ks.cfg
[root@localhost ~]# getfattr -d anaconda-ks.cfg
# file: anaconda-ks.cfg
user.example="example"
user.md5sum="fda1aa550d3cf82423d1b1ad1ae53a13"

 

Related articles

Why Extended Attributes are Coming to HDFS
Advanced Filesystem Attributes in Linux
How to create a file that root user also can't delete?