Stupid Ubuntu 8.10

Erik Christiansen dvalin at
Tue Nov 11 03:23:39 UTC 2008

On Mon, Nov 10, 2008 at 10:54:55AM -0400, Derek Broughton wrote:
> NoOp wrote:
> > On 11/09/2008 05:48 PM, Derek Broughton wrote:
> >> NoOp wrote:
> >> 
> >>> On 11/08/2008 01:48 PM, Francisco Borges wrote:
> >>>> » On Sat, Nov 08, 2008 at 04:42AM -0500, vafa at wrote:
> >>>> 
> >>>>> If I copy (sudo cp -r dirname) a directory to a root directory (where
> >>>>> TeX is installed), then I can not use it in ubuntu 8.10.
> >>>>>
> >>>>> 
> >>>>> Any idea how to resolve this problem?
> >>>> 
> >>>> You probably have the ownership of the directory set to root, and now
> >>>> you can't use it as a regular user.
> >>>> 
> >>>> Check the directory permissions:
> >>>> 
> >>>> ls -la /MyDirectory
> >>>> 
> >>>> to change the ownership of a directory or of files use
> >>>> 
> >>>> sudo chown -R vafa.vafa /MyDirectory
> >>> 
> >>> Perhaps you mean:
> >>> 
> >>> sudo chown -R vafa:vafa /MyDirectory
> >>> 
> >>> notice the colon between vafa and vafa vs the period.
> >> 
> >> It's nice that you can do that, but I've always used periods...
> > 
> > $ man chown
> So, fix man.  Far too many scripts still use periods, there appears to be no
> intent of ever removing the ability to use periods, and the man page should
> match the actual program it documents.

Yes, even if chown's manpage has been POSIXed to a lower state of
usefulness, the executable's backwards compatibility has been
maintained, so traditional unix usage has not been broken. (It's about
20 years since I last looked at that page, so I hadn't noticed, despite
using unix/linux every working day in that time.)

I'm not likely to change on the command line (where this thread's
actions occurred, IIRC.). Maybe if NoOp rather more gently beats us over
the head henceforth, we'll try to remember the new fashion when advising
the next generation. But if my scripts are "older", rather than
portable, then that's OK, 'cos they work faultlessly for me. :-)

If the new generation needs '.' == ':' explained, then the manpage could
usefully do that.


Writing in The Tatler in 1710, Jonathan Swift complained, "I have done
my utmost for some Years past, to stop the Progress of Mob... but have
been plainly borne down by Numbers, and betrayed by those who promised
to assist me." Instead of saying mob, they should have used the proper
Latin term mobile vulgus, mobile meaning changeable or fickle and vulgus
meaning common people.

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