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  1. JDK
  2. JDK-8213082

(zipfs) Add support for POSIX file permissions



    • CSR
    • Resolution: Approved
    • P3
    • 14
    • core-libs
    • None
    • low
    • Java API
    • JDK



      Support POSIX file permissions in OpenJDK's Zip File System (Module jdk.zipfs, Provider class jdk.nio.zipfs.ZipFileSystemProvider).


      POSIX file systems define a certain set of permission attributes for files (e.g. read, write, execute for user, group or all). Being able to store POSIX permission information in Zip files and access it with APIs/tools is an important capability that users of Zip files are in need of on POSIX systems.

      Although there is no explicit definition in the Zip specification about the canonical way to store these attributes, there exists a common sense amongst implementors of Zip tooling serving as a de-facto standard, leveraging Zip's CEN header fields version made by and external file attributes.

      The OpenJDK did not support POSIX file permissions in Zip files so far. The lack of this basic functionality leads to avoidable dependencies to 3rd party libraries and tools.


      The OpenJDK has a (java.nio.file.spi) FileSystemProvider that handles Zip files. It is implemented in class jdk.nio.zipfs.ZipFileSystemProvider of module jdk.zipfs. It handles file URIs with the URI scheme jar.

      Furthermore, java.nio already provides abstraction for POSIX attributes. For instance there exists a class java.nio.file.attribute.PosixFilePermission encapsulating POSIX file permissions as file system attributes. There is also a file attribute view named java.nio.file.attribute.PosixFileAttributeView and a utility class java.nio.file.attribute.PosixFilePermissions.

      It feels natural to enhance the ZipFileSystemProvider to support POSIX file attributes. That is, getting and setting the attributes and store/read them in Zip files.

      In a Zip archive, the permission information is persisted by leverating CEN header fields version made by and external file attributes. The relevant sections of the Zip File Format Specification - https://pkware.cachefly.net/webdocs/casestudies/APPNOTE.TXT - are "4.4.2 version made by (2 bytes)" and "4.4.15 external file attributes: (4 bytes)". A coding example, though written in C, can be found in the infozip implementation which is available as Open Source: http://infozip.sourceforge.net/.

      When POSIX permissions are to be stored on a Zip entry, the upper byte of CEN field "version made by" will be set to 3 - meaning external file attribute compatibility of type "UNIX". The permissions are stored as flag values in the upper 2 bytes of field "external file attributes". Upon reading a Zip entry, if "UNIX" is found as external file attribute compatibility value in "version made by", POSIX permissions will be restored from the upper 2 bytes of field "external file attributes".

      Additional considerations

      • Performance: Supporting POSIX permissions comes with the small cost of having to read/write the CEN header field external attributes. But this should be rather negligible.
      • Security: There should not be a security issue with this new feature. There has been a concern regarding JAR signing where the signature would not include the header fields storing the permissons. However, JAR signing has never been supported by the zipfs provider. Furthermore, copying of files between different file systems (e.g. from Zip Filesystem to UnixFileSystem) won't tranfer permission bits by default since the default inter-provider implementation of Files.copy only copies basic attributes.
      • Other: To use the methods in java.nio.file.Files that deal with POSIX permissions, the Zip file system needs to support classes PosixFileAttributes as well as PosixFileAttributeView. These offer methods that deal with owner and group information whose support is out of scope of this change. Also the POSIX permission information is not optional in these classes which is problematic since it is optional in Zip files. So a certain set of defaults needs to be defined.


      The following text is added to the jdk.zipfs module-info file:

      A Zip file system supports a file attribute view named "zip" that defines an attribute named "permissions" of type Set<PosixFilePermission>. The "permissions" attribute is the set of access permissions that are optionally stored for entries in a Zip file. The value of the attribute is null for entries that do not have access permissions. Zip file systems do not enforce access permissions.

      The "permissions" attribute may be read and set using the Files.getAttribute and Files.setAttribute methods. The following example uses these methods to read and set the attribute:

       Set<PosixFilePermission> perms = Files.getAttribute(entry, "zip:permissions");
         if (perms == null) {
             perms = PosixFilePermissions.fromString("rw-rw-rw-");
             Files.setAttribute(entry, "zip:permissions", perms);

      In addition to the "zip" view, a Zip file system optionally supports the PosixFileAttributeView ("posix"). This view extends the "basic" view with type safe access to the owner, group-owner, and permissions attributes. The "posix" view is only supported when the Zip file system is created with the provider property "enablePosixFileAttributes" set to "true". The following creates a file system with this property and reads the access permissions of a file:

       var env = Map.of("enablePosixFileAttributes", "true");
         try (FileSystem fs = FileSystems.newFileSystem(file, env) {
             Path entry = fs.getPath("entry");
             Set<PosixFilePermission> perms = Files.getPosixFilePermissions(entry);

      The file owner and group owner attributes are not persisted, meaning they are not stored in the zip file. The provider properties "defaultOwner" and "defaultGroup" can be used to configure the default values for these attributes. If these properties are not set then the file owner defaults to the owner of the zip file, and the group owner defaults to the zip file's group owner (or the file owner on platforms that don't support a group owner).

      The "permissions" attribute is not optional in the "posix" view so a default set of permissions are used for entries that do not have access permissions stored in the Zip file. The default set of permissions are OWNER_READ, OWNER_WRITE and GROUP_READ. The default permissions can be configured with the provider property "defaultPermissions".

      The following provider properties for Zip file systems will be added:

      • enablePosixFileAttributes: If the value is true, the Zip file system will support the PosixFileAttributeView.
        Data Type: java.lang.String, Default Value: false
      • defaultOwner: Override the default owner for entries in the Zip file system. The value can be a UserPrincipal or a String value that is used as the UserPrincipal's name.
        Data Type: UserPrincipal or java.lang.String, Default Value: null/unset
      • defaultGroup: Override the the default group for entries in the Zip file system. The value can be a GroupPrincipal or a String value that is used as the GroupPrincipal's name.
        Data Type: GroupPrincipal or java.lang.String, Default Value: null/unset
      • defaultPermissions: Override the default Set of permissions for entries in the Zip file system. The value can be a Set or a String that is parsed by PosixFilePermissions::fromString
        Data Type: Set or java.lang.String, Default Value: null/unset


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              clanger Christoph Langer
              clanger Christoph Langer
              Alan Bateman, Lance Andersen, Volker Simonis
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