MTREE(8) System Manager's Manual MTREE(8)
mtree - map a directory hierarchy
mtree [-cdeilnqrtUux] [-f spec] [-K keywords] [-k keywords] [-p path]
The utility mtree compares the file hierarchy rooted in the current
directory against a specification read from the standard input. Messages
are written to the standard output for any files whose characteristics do
not match the specification, or which are missing from either the file
hierarchy or the specification. For an explanation of the directory
hierarchy, see hier(7).
The options are as follows:
-c Print a specification for the file hierarchy to the standard
-d Ignore everything except directory type files.
-e Don't complain about files that are in the file hierarchy, but
not in the specification.
Read the specification from file spec, instead of from the
-i Indents the output 4 spaces each time a directory level is
descended when creating a specification with the -c option. This
does not affect either the /set statements or the comment before
each directory. It does however affect the comment before the
close of each directory.
Add the specified (whitespace or comma separated) keywords to the
current set of keywords.
Use the "type" keyword plus the specified (whitespace or comma
separated) keywords instead of the current set of keywords.
-l Do "loose" permissions checks, in which more stringent
permissions will match less stringent ones. For example, a file
marked mode 0444 will pass a check for mode 0644. "Loose" checks
apply only to read, write and execute permissions -- in
particular, if other bits like the sticky bit or suid/sgid bits
are set either in the specification or the file, exact checking
will be performed. This flag may not be set at the same time as
the -u or -U flags.
-n Do not emit pathname comments when creating a specification.
Normally a comment is emitted before each directory and before
the close of that directory when using the -c option.
Use the file hierarchy rooted in path, instead of the current
-q Quiet mode. Do not complain when a "missing" directory cannot be
created because it already exists. This occurs when the
directory is a symbolic link.
-r Remove any files in the file hierarchy that are not described in
Display a single checksum to the standard error output that
represents all of the files for which the keyword cksum was
specified. The checksum is seeded with the specified value.
-t If a file's timestamp is different from the specification,
"touch" it to match the specification (and list as modified).
-U Modify the owner, group, and permissions of existing files to
match the specification and create any missing directories.
User, group, and permissions must all be specified for missing
directories to be created. Exit with a status of 0 on success, 1
if any error occurred; a mismatch is not considered an error if
it was corrected.
-u Same as the -U option except a status of 2 is returned if the
file hierarchy did not match the specification.
-x Don't descend below mount points in the file hierarchy.
Specifications are mostly composed of "keywords" (i.e., strings that
specify values relating to files). No keywords have default values, and
if a keyword has no value set, no checks based on it are performed.
Currently supported keywords are as follows:
cksum The checksum of the file using the default algorithm
specified by the cksum(1) utility.
flags The current file's flags (whitespace or comma separated) in
symbolic form as specified by chflags(1). The string
"none" may be used to indicate that no flags should be set
on the file.
gid The file group as a numeric value.
gname The file group as a symbolic name.
ignore Ignore any file hierarchy below this file.
link The file the symbolic link is expected to reference.
md5digest The MD5 message digest of the file.
mode The current file's permissions as a numeric (octal) or
nlink The number of hard links the file is expected to have.
nochange Do not change the attributes (owner, group, mode, etc) on a
file or directory.
optional The file is optional; don't complain about the file if it's
not in the file hierarchy.
rmd160digest The RIPEMD-160 message digest of the file.
sha1digest The SHA-1 message digest of the file.
sha256digest The SHA-256 message digest of the file.
size The size, in bytes, of the file.
time The last modification time of the file.
type The type of the file; may be set to any one of the
block block special device
char character special device
file regular file
link symbolic link
uid The file owner as a numeric value.
uname The file owner as a symbolic name.
The default set of keywords are gid, mode, nlink, size, link, time, and
There are four types of lines in a specification.
The first type of line sets a global value for a keyword, and consists of
the string "/set" followed by whitespace, followed by sets of
keyword/value pairs, separated by whitespace. Keyword/value pairs
consist of a keyword, followed by an equals sign (`='), followed by a
value, without whitespace characters. Once a keyword has been set, its
value remains unchanged until either reset or unset.
The second type of line unsets keywords and consists of the string
"/unset", followed by whitespace, followed by one or more keywords,
separated by whitespace.
The third type of line is a file specification and consists of a file
name, followed by whitespace, followed by zero or more whitespace
separated keyword/value pairs. The file name may be preceded by
whitespace characters. The file name may contain any of the standard
file name matching characters ("[", "]", "?", or "*"), in which case
files in the hierarchy will be associated with the first pattern that
Each of the keyword/value pairs consist of a keyword, followed by an
equals sign, followed by the keyword's value, without whitespace
characters. These values override, without changing, the global value of
the corresponding keyword.
All paths are relative. Specifying a directory will cause subsequent
files to be searched for in that directory hierarchy. Which brings us to
the last type of line in a specification: a line containing only the
string ".." causes the current directory path to ascend one level.
Empty lines and lines whose first non-whitespace character is a hash mark
(`#') are ignored.
/etc/mtree system specification directory
The mtree utility exits with a status of 0 on success, 1 if any error
occurred, and 2 if the file hierarchy did not match the specification. A
status of 2 is converted to a status of 0 if the -U option is used.
To detect system binaries that have been "trojan horsed", it is
recommended that mtree -cK sha256digest be run on the file systems, and a
copy of the results stored on a different machine or, at least, in
encrypted form. The output file itself should be digested using the
sha256(1) utility. Then, periodically, mtree and sha256(1) should be run
against the on-line specifications. While it is possible for the bad
guys to change the on-line specifications to conform to their modified
binaries, it is believed to be impractical for them to create a modified
specification which has the same SHA-256 digest as the original.
The -d and -u options can be used in combination to create directory
hierarchies for distributions and other such things; the files in
/etc/mtree were used to create almost all directories in a normal binary
chgrp(1), chmod(1), cksum(1), md5(1), stat(2), fts(3), md5(3), rmd160(3),
sha1(3), sha2(3), hier(7), chown(8)
The mtree utility appeared in 4.3BSD-Reno.
OpenBSD 6.2 March 13, 2015 OpenBSD 6.2
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