6

I get the error message...

could not change directory to "/home/corey/scripts": Permission denied

... when I run the following script ...

#!/bin/bash
sudo -u postgres psql < setup_dev_db.sql
read -rsp $'Press any key to continue...\n' -n 1 key

... the contents of setup_dev_db.sql are executed without any issues, but the error is annoying.

Can I get rid of it?

  • 2
    Let's try to localize where the error is. If you type sudo -u postgres, do you get the same error? – Mark Plotnick Sep 11 '15 at 14:40
  • @MarkPlotnick is on the right track. There are too many things going on with your script to easily identify WHICH is causing the problem. However, the quick check would be to review permissions for user postgres on the folder /home/corey/scripts – 0xSheepdog Sep 11 '15 at 14:48
  • 1
    I suspect it's simply because the OP ran the script from that directory, which the postgres user can't read, and the error would go away if the script was run from, say, /tmp. – roaima Sep 11 '15 at 14:58
2

To change to a directory, a user must have the 'x' permission for that directory.

I assume you are running the script from '/home/corey/scripts'. When 'sudo -u postgres' changes the current user to 'postgres' it attempts to set the working directory for 'postgres' to the working directory it was called from generating the error you're seeing.

Make sure that the user 'postgres' has permission 'x' for '/home/corey/scripts'.

  • I added "cd /tmp" to the top of my file and prefixed "setup_dev_db.sql" with "~/Dropbox/scripts/" and that fixed it. – Corey Sep 15 '15 at 15:24
4

Postgres wants to create a $HOME/.psql_history file, where it will store all your queries and commands from the psql client. It may well want to do something else at $HOME, but I don't see any evidence in the form of other hidden files. And it won't actually create the history file unless you're using psql interactively, which you're not.

I had this exact same problem and found this question, but the accepted answer wasn't acceptable to me -- I shouldn't have to grant postgres permission to leave a trail of my queries in whatever directory I happen to be in when I run a script!

@Corey, the solution you mentioned in your comment (cd /tmp before calling sudo...) is probably the best. psql won't create this file in /tmp (I'm sure that's deliberate, because it could allow unprivileged users to read the file).

There are two other solutions I can think of :

  1. Run psql in a login shell by adding -i to your command

    sudo -i -u postgres psql < setup_dev_db.sql
    

    This will set $HOME to postgres's HOME directory, listed in /etc/passwd. For Ubuntu, that's /var/lib/postgres. But since you're piping in commands, it won't create a .psql_history file. However, if you use interactive psql, anyone else with sudo privileges on the machine will have access to your command history.

    I'm not sure if there are any other negative consequences to running a login shell in this situation.

  2. Run psql as a less-privileged user, e.g.

    $ psql dev_db -hlocalhost corey_dev -W < setup_dev_db.sql
    

    If this is a problem because you leave postgres user creation to your setup_dev_db.sql script, and you don't have any users yet, just add a createuser command in your script first, something like this:

    $ sudo -u postgres createuser corey_dev -P
    

    and perhaps ...

    $ sudo -u postgres createdb dev_db "Dev database"
    

NOTE: When using the psql client interactively (which you're not, here), if you see a message like could not change directory to "/home/corey/scripts": Permission denied message ****, psql is going to write to /var/lib/postgres/.psql_history (or wherever its $HOME is)! If you've ever seen that warning when using interactive psql, go look--you'll probably find a hidden history file.

1

You may use sudo -u postgres -c your_command.bash or su postgres -c your_command.bash. You could also use,

su - postgres your_command.bash

This will ensure that you acquired all the postgres account enviroment.

  • won't work if you don't want everything in the script to run as root... – Lambart Oct 6 '17 at 7:17
0

For me this did the trick, pay attention to quotes (')

sudo -Hiu postgres 'pg_dump --column-inserts --data-only --table=someTable entities_db > /var/backups/anywhere/$(date +%Y%m%d_%H%M%S)_someTable.sql'

Note the -Hiufor sudo, or use su - postgres

you can also put that in a cronjob for root with crontab -e

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