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Old 03-11-2008, 06:51 AM   #1
Registered: Oct 2006
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Distribution: Ubuntu 16.04.7 LTS, Kali, MX Linux with i3WM
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Cannot access "man pages" as normal user - temp filename creation error.

Whenever I try to access a man page for a specific command as a non-root user I get the error message as below :

uncle@ubuntu:/$ man ls
man: Can't create a temporary filename : Permission denied
This has happened somewhat mysteriously. I can only view the man pages as root or if I "sudo." Could this be because the permissions of the /tmp directory have been altered ? If so what should the correct permissions be ? World readable / writeable and executable ?

Old 03-11-2008, 06:58 AM   #2
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The permissions on the temp directory should be "rwxrwxrwt". You can create it with "sudo chmod a=rwxt /tmp".

However, check if the partition is out of free space. Some filesystems reserve some free space just for root. It could be that running man works for root but not a regular user because only root has the space to do it.

I had a similar problem on my laptop recently. However even root couldn't use man but the message was that the man page file itself couldn't be read. ( ltrace man <topic> would work however ) I think the problem was when I copied some files as root to a /usr/share/doc/<whereever/directory> and used the -p option. It changed the permissions of /usr/local/ denying the less command from reading the file.

I used "rpm -qV filesystem" to discover where the problem was. This is for an rpm based system. I'm sure a debian system has something similar.
Old 03-11-2008, 01:10 PM   #3
Registered: Oct 2006
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Thanks a lot jschiwal. I checked the /tmp directory permissions and they were not set to world readable, writeable or executable and the sticky bit was not set. I was curious as to how this had happened but when you recalled your own similar experience I guess the changing of permissions must have happened when I too was copying files/directories from /tmp using the -p option.
Thanks again for the help !



denied, man, permission

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