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Fixing ‘Permission denied’ Error When Creating a Tar File

Ubuntu 16

In this article, we will explore the issue of encountering a “Permission denied” error when attempting to create a tar file. This common error can be frustrating, but with a clear understanding of the problem and the right approach, it can be resolved easily.

Quick Answer

To fix the "Permission denied" error when creating a tar file, you can either change the output directory to one where you have write permissions, such as /tmp/, or specify your home directory as the output directory.

Understanding the ‘Permission denied’ Error

The “Permission denied” error typically occurs when you’re trying to create a tar file in a directory where you don’t have sufficient write permissions. For instance, if you’re trying to create an archive file in the /usr/src/ directory using the tar command, you might encounter this error if you lack the necessary permissions.

The ‘tar’ Command and Its Parameters

Before we delve into the solution, let’s briefly discuss the tar command. The tar command is used in Unix or Linux systems for archiving files and directories. The syntax of the command is as follows:

tar [options] [archive-file] [file or directory to be archived]

The options used with the tar command are:

  • c: Create a new archive.
  • v: Verbosely list the files processed. This option is not necessary; it merely provides detailed output.
  • f: Allows you to specify the name of the archive file.

Resolving the ‘Permission denied’ Error

Method 1: Changing the Output Directory

The simplest way to resolve this issue is to specify a different output directory where you have write permissions. For example, you can use the /tmp/ directory. Here’s how you can do it:

tar cvf /tmp/rtl_archive.tar /usr/src/

This command will create the rtl_archive.tar file in the /tmp/ directory. The /tmp/ directory is a temporary directory that is generally writable by all users.

Method 2: Using Your Home Directory

Alternatively, you can specify your home directory as the output directory. Here’s how:

tar cvf $HOME/rtl_archive.tar /usr/src/

This command will create the rtl_archive.tar file in your home directory. The $HOME variable represents the path to your home directory.

Troubleshooting Other Errors

If you encounter an error message like “tar: Error exit delayed from previous errors,” this could indicate that some files or directories in the /usr/src/ directory cannot be included in the tar file, such as pipes. To troubleshoot this issue, you can remove the v parameter from the tar command to reduce the output and see the actual error message.

Conclusion

In summary, the “Permission denied” error when creating a tar file occurs due to insufficient write permissions in the specified directory. This can be easily fixed by specifying a different output directory where you have write access, such as /tmp/ or your home directory. Remember to always check your permissions before attempting to create a tar file to avoid such errors. If you encounter other errors, don’t hesitate to troubleshoot by adjusting the parameters in your tar command.

What is a tar file?

A tar file, short for tape archive, is a file format used in Unix or Linux systems to archive multiple files and directories into a single file. It is commonly used for backup purposes or to transfer a collection of files.

How do I create a tar file?

To create a tar file, you can use the tar command followed by the necessary options and the name of the archive file you want to create. For example, tar cvf archive.tar file1 file2 will create a tar file named "archive.tar" containing "file1" and "file2".

Why am I getting a “Permission denied” error when creating a tar file?

The "Permission denied" error occurs when you don’t have sufficient write permissions in the directory where you’re trying to create the tar file. Make sure you have the necessary permissions or choose a different output directory where you have write access.

How can I specify a different output directory when creating a tar file?

To specify a different output directory, you can provide the full path of the desired directory before the name of the archive file. For example, tar cvf /tmp/archive.tar file1 file2 will create the tar file "archive.tar" in the "/tmp/" directory.

What should I do if I encounter other errors while creating a tar file?

If you encounter other errors, such as "tar: Error exit delayed from previous errors," you can try removing the v parameter from the tar command to reduce the output and see the actual error message. This will help you troubleshoot the issue and find a solution.

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