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I am on a computer at work that has been used by somebody else for the past 4 years. I have no idea how often updated brew. The computer is mostly used for running C jobs.

I did

brew update

and the following came out

error: unable to unlink old '.travis.yml' (Permission denied)
error: unable to unlink old 'CONTRIBUTING.md' (Permission denied)
error: unable to unlink old 'README.md' (Permission denied)
error: unable to unlink old 'SUPPORTERS.md' (Permission denied)
Error: Failure while executing: git pull --ff --no-rebase --quiet origin refs/heads/master:refs/remotes/origin/master

What should I do?

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You could run "brew doctor", but it probably would be better to uninstall and reinstall it.

  • Uninstall (directions) and reinstall solved the problem. Thanks – Remi.b Nov 3 '15 at 22:10
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The error output has your answer. The permissions of those files need to be fixed. They are likely owned by root and not accessible to brew update when run as your user. sudo chown <your_username> <file_name> and you should be able to update brew.

Sure, uninstalling and reinstalling works, but it's sometimes nice to resolve things before going that route.

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