perl install-tl fails: Can't exec "mktexlsr": Permission denied at tlpkg/TeXLive/ line 667

Zdenek Wagner zdenek.wagner at
Tue Nov 16 15:40:06 CET 2021

út 16. 11. 2021 v 15:18 odesílatel Philip Lists
< at> napsal:
> Hello, I twice tried to install on Debian linux 11.1, using perl
> install-tl retrieving from the internet.
> Each time, after the download completed, it would give an error message:
> running mktexlsr /mnt/data/texlive/2021/texmf-dist ...
> Can't exec "mktexlsr": Permission denied at tlpkg/TeXLive/ line 667
> install-tl: command failed (statuse -1): mktexlsr
> /mnt/data/texlive/2021/texmf-dist: Permission denied.
> The permissions on
> /mnt/data/texlive/2021/texmf-dist are drwxr-xr-x
> /mnt/data/texlive/2021/texmf-dist/scripts/mktexlsr are -rwxr-xr-x. .
> Googling finds some mktexlsr related installation failures, but I do
> not see any with "permission denied".

the situation is a bit complex. Debian offers its own Debian packages
installable by aptitude which is generally run by root. However, you
can also download TeX Live from TUG and install it and i this case it
is recommended to do it as a normal user. You have to choose an
install path which is writable by the user. Now suppose that you
already have some traces of TeX Live installation and it was done by
root or mktexlsr was once done by root. It means that the directories,
e.g. $TEXMFLOCAL, already contain ls-R files. Now you run mktexlsr as
a normal user which wants to create and/or update ls-R files but they
are already owned by root which causes "permission denied". The remedy
is to inspect your system. If you find ls-R files owned by root,
change their ownership, mktexlsr will then run. In the future make
sure not to run mktexlsr on these directories as root because it will
create the same problem again.

Don't ask how many times it happend to me...

> Any suggestions?
> Best regards,
> Philip

Zdeněk Wagner

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