I attempeted to install the portable version of texlive (on an SSD card) on a Linux Debian installation. It started OK, with some files and directories installed, but then error messages:

  Installing [0001/3701, time/total: ??:??/??:??]: 12many

  tar: tex/latex/12many/12many.sty: Cannot change  
    ownership to uid 0, gid 0: Operation not permitted

  tar: tlpkg/tlpobj/12many.tlpobj: Cannot change ownership
    to uid 0, gid 0: Operation not permitted

  tar: Exiting with failure status due to previous errors

I was doing this as sudo, so permissions should not have been a problem. Also, 12many.sty was installed with ownership "rw" for me and "r" for others.

Any suggestions?

  • It might be a filesystem on your card which doesn't support ownership and unix attributes. Is it FAT or NTFS? Dec 10 '18 at 6:08
  • Thanks for your comment. The file system on the card is vfat.
    – John
    Dec 10 '18 at 6:33
  • vfat doesn't support file ownership. I never installed portable TeXLive, but I'd try the following: first, install it as a user without sudo. If that also fails, switch the filesystem to ext4. Dec 10 '18 at 6:51
  • Running as a user without sudo worked. Thanks.
    – John
    Dec 10 '18 at 17:03

To explain the reasons: The tar files we distribute have uid/gid set to 0, which is the only reasonable uid/gid that can be employed across all systems. tar during the unpack phase tries to restore uid/gid when running as root, but not as user. The tar man page says:

 -p, --preserve-permissions, --same-permissions
       extract information about file permissions (default for superuser)

Now, as mentioned, if you try to do this on a vfat system, tar will bail out when running as root, while ok when running as user.

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