I usually find the answers to all my Unix related problems already posted as questions and answers. However, this particular issue has had me stumped for the past hour so I thought I’d ask my first question on this site.
I have a development / staging server server running CentOS 5.11.
locate as a regular user results in no output (not even an error message):
However, running the command as the superuser prints a list of valid results:
$ sudo locate readdir /home/anthony/repos/php-src/TSRM/readdir.h /home/anthony/repos/php-src/ext/standard/tests/dir/readdir_basic.phpt ... etc.
strace usually helps me debug any such issues and running
strace locate readdir shows:
stat64("/var/lib/mlocate/mlocate.db", 0xbff65398) = -1 EACCES (Permission denied) access("/", R_OK|X_OK) = -1 EACCES (Permission denied) exit_group(1) = ?
I checked the ownership and permissions of the
locate binary and its default database. As expected the command is
slocate as the group owner while the database has the appropriate ownership and permissions.
$ ls -l /usr/bin/locate -rwx--s--x 1 root slocate 22280 Sep 3 2009 /usr/bin/locate $ sudo ls -l /var/lib/mlocate/mlocate.db -rw-r----- 1 root slocate 78395703 May 8 04:02 /var/lib/mlocate/mlocate.db $ sudo ls -ld /var/lib/mlocate/ drwxr-x--- 2 root slocate 4096 Sep 3 2009 /var/lib/mlocate/
There are also no unusual file attributes:
$ sudo lsattr /usr/bin/locate /var/lib/mlocate/mlocate.db ------------- /usr/bin/locate ------------- /var/lib/mlocate/mlocate.db
Compare with working system
Meanwhile, everything works as expected on the Production server. Running
locate readdir as a regular (non-root) user returns a list of results as it should:
$ locate readdir /usr/include/php/TSRM/readdir.h /usr/lib/perl5/5.8.8/i386-linux-thread-multi/auto/POSIX/readdir.al /usr/share/man/man2/readdir.2.gz
For comparison, I also ran this command through
strace but I then got the same permission denied error as on the staging server. I was wondering how this could be until I read the manual page for
sudo. Listed in the Bugs section:
Programs that use the setuid bit do not have effective user ID privileges while being traced.
So, unfortunately, I can’t use
strace for debugging.
I compared the results of all the above commands between the Staging and Production servers and there’s no difference between them. Both systems have the
mlocate-0.15-1.el5.2 RPM with no modifications to their files as shown by
rpm -V mlocate.
I thought it might be related to the fact that on the problematic staging server, my login is authenticated using Winbind but I created a regular local user on the same box and I still have the same issue. There’s obviously something else that I’m missing but I simply don’t know what it is.
I suspect it is related to the setgid file permission, maybe PAM or possibly SELinux. I don’t know much about either PAM or SELinux: I’ve only ever looked at PAM when configuring Winbind authentication while SELinux was installed with the OS but I’ve never used it.
Note: the production server has been subject to far fewer modifications than the development server which has had some experimentation.