My "umask" output is "022"- why can't I execute a file I just created without "chmod"?

I have a brand-new file called ./foo, which looks like this:

#!/usr/bin/env bash

echo 'Hello world'

The output of the umask command looks like so:

$ umask -S

$ umask

Yet, when I try to execute the brand-new file (no chmod yet), I get the following:

$ ./foo

zsh: permission denied: ./foo

For what it's worth, I get the same thing when I open a bash shell:

$ bash

The default interactive shell is now zsh.
To update your account to use zsh, please run `chsh -s /bin/zsh`.
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bash-3.2$ ./foo

bash: ./foo: Permission denied

And when I inspect the file's permissions with ls -l, it also appears to not be executable:

$ ls -l foo

-rw-r--r--  1 richiethomas  staff  40 Mar  3 10:11 foo

When I chmod the file, however, it works as expected:

$ chmod +x foo

$ ./foo
Hello world

$ ls -l foo
-rwxr-xr-x  1 richiethomas  staff  40 Mar  3 10:11 foo

Using this document as a source, I learned that a umask value of 022 means "Owner has all permissions. Everyone else can read and execute, but not write."

If umask is telling me that a file's creator (i.e. me) should be able to execute the file by default, why am I not in fact able to do so?


  • The only way I know to make a file executable immediately on creation without using hidden steps (like in a function or script) is to create it by copying another file that is already executable. You could use this to make a base template, then edit the file as needed.

    $ echo echo hi > a
    $ ./a
    -bash: ./a: Permission denied
    $ chmod +x a
    $ ./a
    $ cp a b
    $ ./b

    ...but in general, the default behaviors are always there for a reason. Please think about those reasons before changing them. I'm not saying you shouldn't customize your environment however is needed, just that you should be aware of the possible consequences in the specific context. This might save you a bit of time and a few spoons on a dev sandbox, but don't let it go to a company prod system without really thinking it through.