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Old 12-08-2004, 07:50 AM   #1
LQ Newbie
Registered: Nov 2004
Location: Spain
Distribution: Slackware 10.1
Posts: 26

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Problems with root group...

When I try to log as root in "Konsole" or in Ctrl+Alt+Fx with 'su' command I get this message:

su: no se puede establecer el grupo: Operación no permitida

That is in spanish, in english it would be:

su: cannot set groups: Operation not permited

If I try to log into KDE from the x server I don't get any message, but can't log in as well, it just comes back and back again to the main screen where asks for user and password.

I'm running Suse 9.1 and recently I have changed permissions for the entire computer with:

chmod -Rv 777 /

Since I did this, some things haven't ran all right, but this matter... now... I don't own my PC !!! I can't be root anymore !! or... can I ???

Could anyone help this poor newbie to understand what's happening with his computer?

Thanks very much to all.
Old 12-08-2004, 08:08 AM   #2
Senior Member
Registered: Jul 2004
Location: Netherlands
Distribution: Slackware
Posts: 2,721

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chmod -Rv 777 /

that really was a bad idea, as now all systemfiles are writable and deletable for any program and person.
no-one can tell what horrible things have happened after that command.

permissions and restrictions are basics of a Linux system, without them it becomes unreliable.
well.....there's no way back, i think you need to re-install.

Old 12-08-2004, 08:20 AM   #3
LQ Newbie
Registered: Nov 2004
Location: Spain
Distribution: Slackware 10.1
Posts: 26

Original Poster
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Well, I can figure out that it have been a bad idea, but, isn't any solution ??
I mean, any easy solution (not re-installing..) ??
Isn't anything I can try ? Changing groups attributes, ownerships ??
Can anybody imagine what had happened to my system?

Thanks egag.
Old 12-08-2004, 08:28 AM   #4
Registered: Sep 2004
Distribution: Slackware 10, Gentoo
Posts: 292

Rep: Reputation: 30
Mabye for that, yes. but not to fix the chmod 777. that was a Bad Idea. IMO you shouldnt even be on the net right now, seeing as you've opened up masses of security problems.

Old 12-08-2004, 08:33 AM   #5
Registered: Dec 2003
Location: uk
Distribution: Ubuntu/Debian/Android
Posts: 218

Rep: Reputation: 30
yep, reinstall, I'm surprised the machine is even working, you would need to know the original permisions of every single file and edit them by hand otherwise.
Old 12-08-2004, 08:38 AM   #6
Registered: Mar 2004
Location: Minnesota
Distribution: Fedora Core 1, Mandrake 10
Posts: 405

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I tend to agree with egag, but if you have anything on the disk that you really want, let's try to explore whether or not we can get you logged in to do so. Not sure if this will even be possible, but what's the harm in trying?

So, if I understand, you can't log in to the machine at all..right? If so, what, if any, are you using as your boot loader? We're going to try to use the basic command from the boot loader to reset some permissions and see if we can get you logged in. I have no idea if we can even change permissions from the boot loader command line, but let's try...

Assuming you're using a boot loader, when it gets to it we need to get into edit mode. In grub (which is the only one I"ve really used much, and therefore the only one I can use for this example) if you hit the "e" key, it will let you edit the boot commands and enter simple bash-like commands. So, if you can manage to get into the edit mode, try tightening up the permissions with something like this:

chmod -R 755 /boot
chmod -R 755 /proc
and maybe even
chmod -R 755 /usr

now try and boot the usual kernel and log in. Oh, and cross your fingers.

Now, if by some miracle this works, it's still a good idea to re-install, as your permissions are still going to be hopelessly screwed up and it'd take you days to manually restore all the proper ones to their correct state, plus you'd pretty much have to look at aonther system to see what each directory and file should be set to. Ugh!


Good luck!!
Old 12-08-2004, 08:55 AM   #7
Registered: Sep 2004
Distribution: Debian, Ubuntu, BeatrIX, OpenWRT
Posts: 273

Rep: Reputation: 30
SuSE maintains an rpm database with the original permissions. I even think rpm has some option that allows you to restore the original permissions. I don't have rpm, so I can't check.

Even so, a reinstall is easier than trying to recover. If you have any critcial data on that computer, you may use knoppix to create a backup. That is if you can't access it without becoming root.


Old 12-09-2004, 04:50 AM   #8
Registered: Nov 2004
Location: Turku, Finland
Distribution: Debian, Ubuntu, Gentoo
Posts: 388

Rep: Reputation: 30
You can get Knoppix live linux CD from

It's a great way to fix badly broken installations / backup files. I suppose you could burn CD:s with it - at least it is possible to install software from CD-drive. Never tried this personally.


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