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Old 01-26-2008, 06:14 AM   #1
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Registered: Jan 2008
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Help....changed persmissions and now I get nothing? Ugh...

Hello and thanks for reading.....

I recently tried to install some games such as MAME and needed to change the permission of the USR folder because I could not copy any roms into the error came up and said that I did not have permission to do so.

I went into termninal and became the root (Ubuntu), and typed--

chmod /usr -rwxrwxrwx...or something like that..I know, I know...what the heck am I doing?

Well, I guessed it worked because all the icons changed into something else and the system went out.
Tried to restart ( and shut off, then on )...only thing that comes up is a box with a big red circle and a bunch of little letters, just little symbols that I cannot read.

There is a box you can click, but it has squares too, no letters. Click on it, and the same thing happens over and over...nothing!

Can this be fixed or do I need to re-install everything.
And I just got all those neat 3-D effects working!!! AARRGGHHH!!!!

If anyone can help, it would be appreciated!

Thank you,
Old 01-26-2008, 07:29 AM   #2
Registered: Apr 2003
Location: Wisconsin
Distribution: Switched to regualr Ubuntu, because I don't like KDE4, at all. Looks like vista on crack.....
Posts: 675

Rep: Reputation: 31
Should be fixable....go to / .. then give us the output for the /usr directory of the command "ls -l"

By the way, changing the permissions of /usr just to copy some files is a very silly thing to do. Just become root, then "cp -v /files/I/need/copied /where/I/want/files/copied/to

And I've never seen permissions changed like that before.....the usual command for that is "chmod 755" or some other number... anyway....let us know...we can change the permissions back to whatever they need to be... also... tell us who the owner and group is from the "ls -l" command.

Good luck and let us know....


P.S. Just reread your post...are you saying you don't have a regualr desktop to login to ? Once things stop and you see that box with the little squares, just hit cnt-alt-F3 and log in there, then use that command line to fix your problem. If you can't even do that much, then you need a live cd distro to edit the permissions of that box. It could be root needs to be the owner of /usr or you won't be able to log in, I'm not sure. Anyway...let us know and we'll get it figured out...


Last edited by budword; 01-26-2008 at 07:36 AM.
Old 01-27-2008, 06:59 PM   #3
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Registered: Jan 2008
Posts: 23

Original Poster
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Well, I do not know what I did...but....

I typed 'chmod 755 /usr

I then rebooted and everything was fine? I guess so...

I still could not figure out how to copy a file into the /usr folder, or one of it's sub-folders???

I went into Terminal.

Typed su, then used I am the root I take it, it says so...

Then tried the cp command, but no matter what I did, nothing worked correctly.

cp myfile /usr

or other variations on this....nothing worked. Persmission Denied.

Can I just log in somehow as the root user, and move a bunch of files where I want them to go?

In other words....the emulator SDLMame, the arcade emulator, want to look for Roms in the /usr/local/share/games folder. But I cannot put anything there because I have no permission, or I am not the owner, and all that other good stuff....arrghh!!

I do not quite get all this just yet....would like to though!

Old 01-27-2008, 09:35 PM   #4
Registered: Aug 2006
Location: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Distribution: Slackware, Mint, Debian
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We need to see the permission for /usr, so do a ls -l in / (ie root directory), and post it here.
Also what are you trying to copy?
Could you be trying to overwrite an existing file/directory?

Finally, have you considered using a program like Midnight Commander (mc) to do the copying and setting of file permissions?
It might be easier for Linux newbies.
Old 01-28-2008, 06:08 AM   #5
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Registered: Jan 2008
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Midnight Commander might help me understand things a little easier, until I get into all this more....

All I wanted to do was copy a file for MAME from my desktop, where I downloaded the games folder that falls under the USR folder.

That's where the emulator SDLMame was looking for it's roms.

On the
This is the game Track and Field in a zip file for use with MAME.

I want to copy it into the /usr/local/share/games folder.

Here's a bit of that ls -l read out.........

All the folders (directories?) have the following....

drwxr-xr-x 2 then the folder name


lrwxrwxrwx 1 Example -> /usr/share/example -content

So you can see that the USR and its folders are a little different than the others.
Probably something silly that I did in the beginning?

Thank you,


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