rsync chown not permitted

by bitznbitez

Recently when I installed an external 2TB Hitachi USB drive on my Ubuntu 10.04 system and tried to use rsync to backup my system I ran into an error with permissions.

rsync ... chown not permitted ...

This would happen even as root when writing to the drive.    This was initially puzzling to me because root should never be prohibited from performing a chown.  It turns out that because the external drive is configured to be interoperable between multiple OS’s the format of the drive was FAT.     There is no concept of ownership etc. in that filesystem format.   Therefore the chown was not permitted.

Obviously the solution is to reformat the drive in a format that understands ownership.