11.3 install: Copy files and set attributes
install copies files while setting their file mode bits and, if
possible, their owner and group. Synopses:
install [option]... [-T] source dest
install [option]... source... directory
install [option]... -t directory source...
install [option]... -d directory...
- If two file names are given, install copies the first file to the
- If the --target-directory (-t) option is given, or
failing that if the last file is a directory and the
--no-target-directory (-T) option is not given,
install copies each source file to the specified
directory, using the sources' names.
- If the --directory (-d) option is given,
install creates each directory and any missing parent
directories. Parent directories are created with mode
‘u=rwx,go=rx’ (755), regardless of the -m option or the
current umask. See Directory Setuid and Setgid, for how the
set-user-ID and set-group-ID bits of parent directories are inherited.
install is similar to cp, but allows you to control the
attributes of destination files. It is typically used in Makefiles to
copy programs into their destination directories. It refuses to copy
files onto themselves.
install never preserves extended attributes (xattr).
The program accepts the following options. Also see Common options.
- See Backup options.
Make a backup of each file that would otherwise be overwritten or removed.
- Compare each pair of source and destination files, and if the destination has
identical content and any specified owner, group, permissions, and possibly
SELinux context, then do not modify the destination at all.
Note this option is best used in conjunction with --user,
--group and --mode options, lest install
incorrectly determines the default attributes that installed files would have
(as it doesn't consider setgid directories and POSIX default ACLs for example).
This could result in redundant copies or attributes that are not reset to the
- Ignored; for compatibility with old Unix versions of install.
- Create any missing parent directories of dest,
then copy source to dest.
Explicitly specifying the --target-directory=dir will similarly
ensure the presence of that hierarchy before copying source arguments.
- Create any missing parent directories, giving them the default
attributes. Then create each given directory, setting their owner,
group and mode as given on the command line or to the defaults.
- ‘-g group’
- Set the group ownership of installed files or directories to
group. The default is the process's current group. group
may be either a group name or a numeric group ID.
- ‘-m mode’
- Set the file mode bits for the installed file or directory to mode,
which can be either an octal number, or a symbolic mode as in
chmod, with ‘a=’ (no access allowed to anyone) as the
point of departure (see File permissions).
The default mode is ‘u=rwx,go=rx,a-s’—read, write, and
execute for the owner, read and execute for group and other, and with
set-user-ID and set-group-ID disabled.
This default is not quite the same as ‘755’, since it disables
instead of preserving set-user-ID and set-group-ID on directories.
See Directory Setuid and Setgid.
- ‘-o owner’
- If install has appropriate privileges (is run as root), set the
ownership of installed files or directories to owner. The default
root. owner may be either a user name or a numeric user
- Preserve the SELinux security context of files and directories.
Failure to preserve the context in all of the files or directories
will result in an exit status of 1. If SELinux is disabled then
print a warning and ignore the option.
- Set the time of last access and the time of last modification of each
installed file to match those of each corresponding original file.
When a file is installed without this option, its last access and
last modification times are both set to the time of installation.
This option is useful if you want to use the last modification times
of installed files to keep track of when they were last built as opposed
to when they were last installed.
- Strip the symbol tables from installed binary executables.
- Program used to strip binaries.
- ‘-S suffix’
- Append suffix to each backup file made with -b.
See Backup options.
- ‘-t directory’
- Specify the destination directory.
See Target directory.
- Do not treat the last operand specially when it is a directory or a
symbolic link to a directory. See Target directory.
- Print the name of each file before copying it.
- Without a specified context, adjust the SELinux security context according
to the system default type for destination files, similarly to the
The long form of this option with a specific context specified,
will set the context for newly created files only.
With a specified context, if both SELinux and SMACK are disabled, a warning is
This option is mutually exclusive with the --preserve-context option.
An exit status of zero indicates success,
and a nonzero value indicates failure.