[tex-live] strange changing permissions

George N. White III gnwiii at gmail.com
Thu Mar 18 14:27:59 CET 2010

On Thu, Mar 18, 2010 at 8:38 AM, Victor Ivrii <vivrii at gmail.com> wrote:
> On one of computers I run texlive maintenance not as a root but as a
> special user "texlive" and I noticed that if tlmgr runs
> running updmap-sys ...
> done running updmap-sys.
> then ordinary users are getting errors
> [...]
> If I as "texlive" change reading permissions it goes back to normal.
> If "texlive" runs updmap-sys then no such behavior. Also on comuters
> where I run tlmgr as a root such behavior is not observed
> umask of all directories there is 77
> It is a bit of annoyance to remember to change permissions

This is more than an annoyance, it is a leading indicator that
life as we know it is coming to an end.

You are fighting a losing battle.  Such problems don't
arise or are someone else's problem if you adhere to the
one-user-one-machine model.   This is increasingly the
the only tested configuration for new  packages.   Many
license agreements now assume the user and the person
installing the package are the same, so you could be on
the hook if some user violates the NDA clause "this
software contains proprietary technology...you agree
that any bugs will only be reported to us.. discussing
this software in a public forum is a violation of your
license." by complaining about a bug on some mail

Many apps (including xetex) make use of the GPU and
assume the user has exclusive control over the
graphics hardware (e.g., to use the system font rasterizer
and fonts with anti-aliasing via openGL).   On some
configurations, Mac OS X xetex refuses to run in a
remote (ssh) terminal session.

There are ways to wrap common admin commands
in scripts using:

set -v
sudo chmod -R <tladm>:<grp> /usr/local/texlive
set +v

or sometimes a script intended to be run using sudo:

chmod -R <tladm>:<grp> /usr/local/texlive"
/usr/bin/sudo -u  <tladm>:<grp> commands...

Similar problems arise for MacTeX.  We have some users who
log in at the console, while others use terminal sessions from
Windows desktops.  If an admin user does maintenance with
the MacTeX GUI tools, ownership reverts to root and the
texlive user has to fix permissions before running command
line tools.

George N. White III <aa056 at chebucto.ns.ca>
Head of St. Margarets Bay, Nova Scotia

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