Chown PRoblem..HELP PLEASE

Jon Radel jon at
Sat Apr 12 02:13:20 UTC 2008

Ruel Luchavez wrote:
> Hi ALL,
> i make a new directory in my server using "mkdir [name of folder], then when
> i wan to view the folder i use "ll" and this is the view:
> drwxrwxrwx 2 root wheel 512 Apr 11 11:05 [name of folder]
> when i want to change the owner[root] into a certain name (ex.ruel) using
> the command:
> chown -R ruel:wheel ...path/[name folder]
> I allways got and error:
> chown:ruel: Invalid argument
> what went wrong here guys? what could be my error? can you HELP me on this?

Before the user ruel can own a directory, the user ruel must exist.
Does he?  The command "cat /etc/passwd" will give you a list of every
existing user. The adduser script is useful for adding users, if this
indeed the problem.

Incidentally, I find it hard to believe that the name of your directory
is so embarrassing that you can't share it.  By sanitizing such things,
rather than reporting exactly what you typed and exactly what the
response is, you seriously risk editing out clues.  If you already knew
what was important as a clue, you probably wouldn't need to ask the

--Jon Radel
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