cap_compare - Linux


cap_compare is a command-line tool used to compare the capabilities of two files, directories, or processes. It provides detailed information about the differences in capabilities between the specified targets, enabling users to assess and manage capability-related security settings.


cap_compare [-h] [-C CAP_FIELD] {-a | -d | -s} FILE1 FILE2


  • -h: Display usage information.
  • -C CAP_FIELD: Specify the capability field to compare, such as "bounding" or "effective". Default: "effective"
  • -a: Compare all capabilities.
  • -d: Compare only capabilities that differ between the targets.
  • -s: Compare only capabilities that are set in either target.


Compare all capabilities of two files:

cap_compare -a file1 file2

Compare only differing capabilities of two directories:

cap_compare -d /tmp /var

Common Issues

  • Insufficient permissions: Ensure you have sufficient privileges to access the specified files or directories.
  • Invalid capability field: Specify a valid capability field using the -C option.


  • Use cap_compare in conjunction with setcap to modify capabilities.
  • Integrate cap_compare into scripts to automate capability management tasks.

Related Commands

  • cap_set: Set file or process capabilities.
  • getcap: Get file or process capabilities.
  • lscap: List capabilities of a file or process.