System log viewer keeps displaying error message "/var/log/btmp" The file is not a regular file or not a text file

Bug #401499 reported by Mike Larry on 2009-07-19
This bug affects 4 people
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
gnome-utils (Ubuntu)

Bug Description

Binary package hint: gnome-utils

It seem to me that when i do a fail login attempt this error message starts to show in the system log viewer with a big red X box that says /var/log/btmp The file is not a regular file or not a text file. I am using Ubuntu 9.04 (jaunty) with the kernel 2.6.28-13-generic and i hope this information will be helpfull in solving this problem.

Sebastien Bacher (seb128) wrote :

Thank you for your bug report, you probably have this log listed in the gconf list of logs to show and no corresponding log on the disks

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

Thank you for the help

Sam_ (and-sam) wrote :

Just uploaded an Apport report about this from Karmic standard installation. I didn't have a failed login though.
gconftool --get /apps/gnome-system-log/logfiles

There is a btmp, attached properties as screenshot. It doesn't open with gedit, it says either coding isn't correct or it's a binary.

Changed in gnome-utils (Ubuntu):
status: New → Confirmed
Sam_ (and-sam) wrote :

Sebastien, please be so kind and give me a hint or link what btmp is, thanks. Couldn't find it here or elsewhere explained:

Sebastien Bacher (seb128) wrote :

The issue is an upstream one and it would be nice if somebody having it could send the bug the to the people writting the software (

Sam_ (and-sam) wrote :

Ok, now I've found out what btmp is. It belongs to root, but isn't readable through log viewer, although it's readable for others. I wonder if a chmod to 640 makes the message in log viewer go away?

i was messing around with this bug again and i'm sure when i do i fail login "/var/log/btmp The file is not a regular file or not a text file" is shown in the system log viewer. Also the btmp log is remove from the log viewer. It doesn't give the error message in kernel 2.6.28-13-generic, but if you do a fail login on the newer kernel it shows.

Sam_ (and-sam) wrote :

Donrade, you're correct, I've mistyped the password, checked btmp afterwards and it had the changed timestamp. Well, I guess, since Ubuntu is supposed to be a multiuser system it makes sense to appear this way. For a single user it may be an annoyance, but can be resolved by removing it from gconf. This said, I assume it isn't a bug then.

Sam_ (and-sam) wrote :

Now I get the same message in log viewer with 'messages'.
In /var/log 'messages' type unknown, 'messages.1' type textfile.
No idea what's the cause.

Sam_ (and-sam) wrote :

Update: now 'messages' appears again in log viewer. In /var/log 'messages.1' is now type unknown and 'messages' type textfile.
Still the same with /btmp.

Sam_ (and-sam) wrote :

Update: now again 'messages' type unknown. Have no idea what's the cause. Curious, I'll test if it has to do with shutdown and hibernate. Speaking of, when shutdown and reboot 'messages' appear normal, after hibernation not.

Sam_ (and-sam) wrote :

Update: six days I've hibernated and 'messages' was type unknown. After shutdown and reboot 'messages' were type textfile again and of course no error message anymore in log viewer GUI.
Now log viewer prompts message about 'btmp' I'm not allowed to read this document. I've checked permissions and they're 660 (root-utmp-others), fine with me. (attached screenshot)

Sam_ (and-sam) wrote :

Sorry, forgot to mention 'btmp' is empty.

Sebastian Meyer (wastl) wrote :

I can confirm this bug on Ubuntu 10.04.1 LTS (Lucid Lynx), x86_64 GNU/Linux 2.6.32-25-generic, with gnome-utils version 2.30.0-0ubuntu1.
A workaround can be found at , i.e. simply remove the entry /var/log/btmp from the list /apps/gnome-system-log/logfiles of the log files which are opened up at startup of the log viewer (e.g. using gconf-editor).
I think /var/log/btmp should generally not be part of this list, neither is /var/log/wtmp .

PS: By the way, I don't really think this is a duplicate of bug #374320, because it is not related to permissions of /var/log/btmp.

Sam_ (and-sam) wrote :

The issue isn't on an updated Maverick 10.10.
btmp is still listed in gconf-editor /apps/gnome-system-log/logfiles and now also in system administration -> log viewer, but permissions have changed:
LANG=C stat /var/log/btmp
  File: `/var/log/btmp'
  Size: 0 Blocks: 0 IO Block: 4096 regular empty file
Access: (0664/-rw-rw-r--) Uid: ( 0/ root) Gid: ( 43/ utmp)

IKT (ikt) wrote :

How is this not a dupe of bug 374320 ?

(and how is this 3 year old papercut not fixed)

IKT (ikt) wrote :

Ok, it's slightly different issue to 374320, can some people test to make sure it is fixed as stated by: Sam_ 2010-12-1

Changed in gnome-utils (Ubuntu):
status: Confirmed → Fix Committed
Sam_ (and-sam) wrote :

No ’btmp' complain since Maverick, then Natty and Oneiric here.
New issue regarding topic message "not a regular text file ..." reported there. Bug #818641

Changed in gnome-utils (Ubuntu):
assignee: Ubuntu Desktop Bugs (desktop-bugs) → nobody

"[Bug 4099] Re: System log viewer keeps displaying error message /var/log/btmp The file is not a regular file or not a text file"
Sam_ doc

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