Gnome System Log Complains About btmp log permissions

Bug #374320 reported by nullack on 2009-05-10
This bug affects 19 people
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
One Hundred Papercuts
gnome-utils (Ubuntu)
Ubuntu Desktop Bugs

Bug Description

Binary package hint: gnome-utils

On Karmic Koala, each time I open the gnome system log viewer, the app shows the following error message:


You don't have enough permissions to read the file.

The user can workaround the problem by closing the error dialogue so its an annoyance rather than a blocker.

nullack@PPP:~$ sudo apt-cache policy gnome-utils
[sudo] password for nullack:
  Installed: 2.26.0-0ubuntu1
  Candidate: 2.26.0-0ubuntu1
  Version table:
 *** 2.26.0-0ubuntu1 0
        500 karmic/main Packages
        100 /var/lib/dpkg/status

Sebastien Bacher (seb128) wrote :

Thank you for your bug report, I'm not confirming this issue on jaunty

Changed in gnome-utils (Ubuntu):
assignee: nobody → Ubuntu Desktop Bugs (desktop-bugs)
importance: Undecided → Low
EzNet (zeroezezero) wrote :

Same here - confirmed on my 1000he EeePC

You don't have enough permissions to read the file.

uname -a
Linux eznet-mobile 2.6.28-11-generic #42-Ubuntu SMP Fri Apr 17 01:57:59 UTC 2009 i686 GNU/Linux

dpkg -s gnome-utils | grep Version
Version: 2.26.0-0ubuntu1

yarly (ih8junkmai1) wrote :

Confirmed also on Jaunty 9.04.

I noticed this around August 1st.

yarly (ih8junkmai1) wrote :

Ubuntu 9.04 64bit (Jaunty)
Kernel Linux 2.6.28-14-generic
GNOME 2.26.1

dpkg -s gnome-utils | grep Version
Version: 2.26.0-0ubuntu1

You don't have enough permissions to read the file.

yarly (ih8junkmai1) wrote :

Screenshot on Jaunty 9.04

nullack (nullack) wrote :

I note that gnome 2.28 is being reported as the gnome revision for Karmic now, and this bug still exists.

IKT (ikt) on 2009-10-27
Changed in gnome-utils (Ubuntu):
status: New → Confirmed
IKT (ikt) wrote :

confirmed, and removing btmp in /var/log/ means the error changes to:

Error stating file '/var/log/btmp': No such file or directory

On top of this, going to help file:

To stop monitoring a specific log, uncheck the View ▸ Monitor option.
Check this option again to turn monitoring back on.

There is no 'monitor' option in the view menu.

Going upstream to find out what's going on.

IKT (ikt) wrote :

Appears to be the best change we can hope for.

Patrick (taishor) wrote :

Sorted the problem at my EEE PC S101...

sudo chmod +r /var/log/btmp

Now I dont get any more error messages about btmp when opening system log.

ArTaX (marco-zannoni) wrote :

This bug affects also me. I googled and I found this page:
the problem seems to be correlated to ssh. SSH (only if there was a connection error?) change the permission of the file /var/log/btmp to 660. I often use ssh and sometimes it gives me a connection error.
Can you confirm that this problem is related to ssh?

IKT (ikt) wrote :

@ArTaX, I've installed ssh and attempted to login to multiple other computers on my network, used the wrong username, ip address, port etc, and it doesn't seem to be causing the error, is there anything specific I can do to trigger the error? Using 10.04 alpha 2.

Timothy W. Tacker (tim-tacker) wrote :

Confirmed that I receive the following error on Ubuntu 10.04 with Log Viewer 2.30.0:

You don't have enough permissions to read the file.

This error is mentioned in the following Ubuntu Forums threads:

It appears that the /var/log/btmp file logs bad login attempts and is used with the lastb command. I have seen suggestions that the read permissions on this file can be relaxed as a workaround; however, I have also read that the information in this file contains sensitive bad login information which requires protection.

I believe that this is only a problem in Ubuntu because Log Viewer is run without superuser permissions when accessed through System > Administration > Log File Viewer. The solution may be to (1) configure Ubuntu to run Log Viewer with superuser permissions when accessed through System > Administration > Log File Viewer or (2) to remove /var/log/btmp from the list of files monitored by Log Viewer.

Unless there is a reason not run Log File Viewer with superuser permissions, I think the first option is best so that bad logins can be monitored with Log Viewer. Unfortunately, I have read that this logging only starts once the /var/log/btmp is created; and I do not know if this file is automatically created in Ubuntu. Also, I am not sure about the best approach to accomplish either the first or second options mentioned above; so if anyone has any suggestions on how to do either of these, they would be greatly appreciated.

It looks like the following error is also common in Log Viewer and perhaps related:

This file is not a regular file or is not a text file.

This error is mentioned in the following Ubuntu Forums threads:

This error is also mentioned in the following Ubuntu Question:

libbi (libbi) wrote :

I get the same error on Ubuntu 10.10 RC with Systemlogviewer 2.31.1 on Gnome

Sam_ (and-sam) wrote :

regarding the "This file is not a regular file or is not a text file."
Bug #401499

IKT (ikt) wrote :

Have duped bug 401499, and am praying to zeus that someone can fix this!

IKT (ikt) wrote :

edit: haven't duped, slightly different issues.

Changed in gnome-utils:
status: Unknown → Fix Released
MountainX (dave-mountain) wrote :

This bug affects me too.
2.6.35-28-generic #49-Ubuntu SMP Tue Mar 1 14:39:03 UTC 2011 x86_64 GNU/Linux

Changed in gnome-utils (Ubuntu):
status: Confirmed → Fix Committed
Changed in hundredpapercuts:
status: New → Fix Committed
Changed in gnome-utils (Ubuntu):
status: Fix Committed → Confirmed
Changed in hundredpapercuts:
status: Fix Committed → Confirmed
Timothy Arceri (t-fridey) wrote :

The remote watch was pointing to the wrong bug :)

Changed in gnome-utils:
status: Fix Released → Unknown
Changed in gnome-utils:
importance: Unknown → Medium
status: Unknown → New
tekstr1der (tekstr1der) wrote :

Still seeing this bug, so many releases later, on Oneiric 11.10.

Simple workaround in comment #9 "fixes" the situation. Couldn't this be a papercut for the upcoming 12.04 LTS?

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