File::lchown - modify attributes of symlinks without dereferencing them


 use File::lchown qw( lchown lutimes );

 lchown $uid, $gid, $linkpath or die "Cannot lchown() - $!";

 lutimes $atime, $mtime, $linkpath or die "Cannot lutimes() - $!";


The regular chown system call will dereference a symlink and apply ownership changes to the file at which it points. Some OSes provide system calls that do not dereference a symlink but instead apply their changes directly to the named path, even if that path is a symlink (in much the same way that lstat will return attributes of a symlink rather than the file at which it points).


$count = lchown $uid, $gid, @paths

Set the new user or group ownership of the specified paths, without dereferencing any symlinks. Passing the value -1 as either the $uid or $gid will leave that attribute unchanged. Returns the number of files successfully changed.

$count = lutimes $atime, $mtime, @paths

Set the access and modification times on the specified paths, without dereferencing any symlinks. Passing undef as both $atime and $mtime will update the times to the current system time.

Note that for both lchown and lutimes, if more than one path is given, if later paths succeed after earlier failures, then the value of $! will not be reliable to indicate the nature of the failure. If you wish to use $! to report on failures, make sure only to pass one path at a time.


  • Implement sub-second precision on lutimes, most likely by taking floats or two-element ARRAY refs, similar to Time::HiRes uses.


  • lchown(2) - change ownership of a file

  • lutimes(2) - change file timestamps


Paul Evans <>