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UNIX Trying to move and copy file but getting a permission denied

Posted on 2014-01-16
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Last Modified: 2014-01-17
Hello UNIX Experts,

I am a unix newbie trying to gain more understanding of unix. Right now, I am trying to move and/or copy a Python script from my home directory /Users/FB to /usr/bin but I get a Permission denied error message:

FB-MacBook-Pro:~ FB$ mv add.py /usr/bin/
mv: rename add.py to /usr/bin/add.py: Permission denied

Here are the ls -ld for the /usr/bin:

FB-MacBook-Pro:bin FB$ pwd
/usr/bin
FB-MacBook-Pro:bin FB$ ls -ld
drwxr-xr-x  1077 root  wheel  36618 Dec 29 21:27 .

I have 2 questions:

1) I want to the change the permissions on the /usr/bin to resolve the problem. The question is can I do this?

2) If I can, what command and parameters should I use?

Thank you for your assistance.
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Question by:frbonap
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Assisted Solution

by:ozo
ozo earned 100 total points
ID: 39787694
You might change it to drwxrwxrwx
but that could be dangerous since then anyone could put something there, which could trick you into running their code when you think you are running a system program.
But if you are able to run as root in order to change the permissions, why not run as root in order to do the mv?
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Expert Comment

by:Dave Baldwin
ID: 39787698
That's a bad idea for a number of reasons.  There are a lot of system programs and files in there.  Changing the permissions wrong could crash your system.

Why do you want to do that?  What do you think you will accomplish?
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Author Comment

by:frbonap
ID: 39787734
I want to do this because my script - add.py - is in /User/FB and python is in /usr/bin. Thus, I have not been able to run my script up until now. But, after getting your response, I tried to execute it in a different way and it worked.

Even though, I am now able to execute my script, I want to understand more about permissions. When is it ok to change permissions on a directory if ever?
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Assisted Solution

by:Dave Baldwin
Dave Baldwin earned 100 total points
ID: 39787750
I suggest that until you understand a Lot more about how Unix/Linux and Macs are organized, you stick to changing permissions in your own user areas.  I looked in my Mac and if you do "ls -al /usr/bin/py*" you will see that python Isn't really there, those are symbolic links to another directory.  Macs add another layer of complexity on top of what Unix does.

In addition to a MacBook, I also have several Linux machines and I am very careful about changing anything outside my own user area and web directories.  After 10+ years of casual use, I still don't fully understand the Unix/Linux file organization.
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Accepted Solution

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Peter Loobuyck earned 200 total points
ID: 39787854
You shouldn't change permissions on a Mac. They're there for a reason. just add a sudo prefix in your unix mv command and enter your password. All things will work properly now.
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Assisted Solution

by:gheist
gheist earned 100 total points
ID: 39788958
You have to be root user to make things to bin/, so "sudo -s" first.
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Expert Comment

by:Peter Loobuyck
ID: 39789018
True. Then move your files.
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Expert Comment

by:gheist
ID: 39789043
(also pay attention to long message sudo displays - you can easily kill your system to no good)
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Author Closing Comment

by:frbonap
ID: 39789168
Using the sudo command was what I really needed vs changing directory permissions. Thank you all for being patient with the rookie. The advice is very valuable.
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