If the users part of a symbolic mode is omitted, it defaults to
‘a’ (affect all users), except that any permissions that are
set in the system variable
umask are not affected.
The value of
umask can be set using the
umask command. Its default value varies from system to system.
Omitting the users part of a symbolic mode is generally not useful
with operations other than ‘+’. It is useful with ‘+’ because
it allows you to use
umask as an easily customizable protection
against giving away more permission to files than you intended to.
As an example, if
umask has the value 2, which removes write
permission for users who are not in the file’s group, then the mode:
adds permission to write to the file to its owner and to other users who are in the file’s group, but not to other users. In contrast, the mode:
umask, and does give write permission for
the file to all users.