Why 'defaults' mount options are not seen in /proc/mounts or mount command ?

Solution Verified - Updated -


  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL)


  • How to determine full mount options for a mounted file system ?
  • If defaults provides an alias for async,auto,dev,exec,nouser,rw,suid, then why these options not reported in /etc/mtab, /proc/mounts or in mount command ?
  • If the filesystem is mounted with one of the option in defaults, do other options are applicable ?
  • For example, /etc/fstab lists tmpfs filesystem as below :
tmpfs                   /dev/shm                tmpfs    defaults        0 0  
  • However, mount command and /proc/mounts reports only rw from defaults :
# mount -v -t tmpfs 
tmpfs on /dev/shm type tmpfs (rw)
# cat /proc/mounts | grep tmpfs
tmpfs /dev/shm tmpfs rw,seclabel,nosuid,nodev 0 0


  • For tmpfs, the only filesystem options that are displayed are :

    • size=SIZE (if the size is not default)
    • nr_inodes=INODES (if the number is not the default)
    • mode=MODE (if the mode is not the default)
    • uid=UID (if the uid is not 0/root)
    • gid=GID (if the gid is not 0/root)
    • memory policy (if not default)
  • ro/rw is displayed for all filesystem types.

  • Some mount options are only displayed if they are not the default.
  • The most complete location to view the mount options is in /proc/self/mounts in RHEL 5 and /proc/self/mountinfo in RHEL 6

Root Cause

  • For most filesystems, the mount options are only displayed in /proc/mounts if :
    • they are applicable to the particular filesystem type
    • they are not strictly for internal use
    • the mount options are not the default setting
    • the user has the appropriate capabilities to show the options (CAP_SYS_ADMIN) in the current mount namespace

Diagnostic Steps

[1] On a test system, edit fstab to mount tmpfs with rw only and performed a reboot :

# cat /etc/fstab | grep tmpfs
tmpfs                   /dev/shm                tmpfs   rw              0 0

# cd /dev/shm/

# cat > script.sh
echo "Script ran"

# chmod u+x script.sh 
# ./script.sh 
Script ran
  • Result : Script ran, though exec not set.

[2] Now, edit fstab to mount tmpfs with rw,noexec and performed a reboot :

# cat /etc/fstab | grep tmpfs
tmpfs                   /dev/shm                tmpfs   rw,noexec              0 0

# cd /dev/shm/

# cat > script.sh
echo "Script ran"

# ls -l
total 4
-rw-r--r--. 1 root root 30 Apr  6 00:47 scripts.sh

# chmod u+x script.sh
chmod: cannot access `script.sh': No such file or directory
  • Result : Unable to set execute permission, as noexec is set explicitly.

  • For example, mounting a filesystem with rw,exec options, will also mount the filesystem with suid,dev,auto, nouser,async,relatime.

  • But, if any of these option is unset explicitly, it will not be applicable.

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