Trying to understand my issue here. I have a window which somehow has LOST permissions to grep. I honestly have no clue how. I'd like to know, understand, have at least an inkling what might've happened. Ideas?

  1. Terminator screen A, dirA, can grep without a problem.
  2. Same Terminator window, screen B, dirB, cannot grep (outputs: grep number: permission denied). Both dirs have SAME permissions.
  3. I cd from dirB to dirA. I cannot grep. Again, output says grep number: permission denied, just number increases by 1.
  4. Both windows are opened from Terminator (same one). New Terminator window has no problems. New Terminator or terminal - no problem.
  5. I didn't change permissions.
  6. I didn't add/remove/change groups or users.
  7. The - now faulty - window originally COULD grep.
  8. Running zsh in a faulty window "enables" grep back, until I quit the shell.

I think if I close this window and reopen a new one I'll fix it, but I'm curious - WHAT caused it?


  1. Ubuntu 16.04.3 LTS
  2. ZSH (version says zsh 5.1.1 (x86_64-ubuntu-linux-gnu)) with Oh-My-ZSH
  3. Terminator 0.98 (though I don't suspect Terminator, it's just one screen in one window that hs this peculiar issue and it is first time I've had it).
  4. Inxi report below

    inxi -S -xxx
    System: Host: T420s Kernel: 4.4.0-104-generic x86_64 (64 bit gcc: 5.4.0) Desktop: Xfce 4.12.3 (Gtk 2.24.28) info: xfce4-panel dm: lightdm Distro: Ubuntu 16.04 xenial

Grep commands causing the problem:

and the error message.

➜  dirA ±:(master) grep pom client/pom.xml                         [% 20:35:05]
grep:66: permission denied: client/src/main/java/client/BatClient.java
➜  dirA ±:(master) grep a pom.xml                                  [% 20:35:20]
grep:67: permission denied: client/src/main/java/client/BatClient.java
➜  dirA ±:(master) grep a client/pom.xml                           [% 20:38:53]
grep:68: permission denied: client/src/main/java/client/BatClient.java

In dirB a file that has denied permission changes.

I killed the window as I had to restart the server.

Killing the window made the glitch go away. Next time this appears, I'll reopen the question and add syscall debug or dig output perhaps.

Great many thanks to you for helping!

closed as off-topic by Rui F Ribeiro, jayhendren, dhag, Kusalananda, Archemar Jan 23 '18 at 15:36

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "Questions describing a problem that can't be reproduced and seemingly went away on its own (or went away when a typo was fixed) are off-topic as they are unlikely to help future readers." – jayhendren, dhag, Kusalananda, Archemar
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • I'm not sure what caused the downvote. I'd like to make the question better but I'd need some help here. – LIttle Ancient Forest Kami Jan 22 '18 at 19:25
  • Maybe a terminator glitch! – George Udosen Jan 22 '18 at 19:26
  • Please copy the exact grep command that you are executing and the complete verbatim error message and paste them into your question using the edit button – steeldriver Jan 22 '18 at 19:27
  • @GeorgeUdosen how to check? – LIttle Ancient Forest Kami Jan 22 '18 at 19:43
  • @steeldriver done. Though formatting is making this hard. Will correct in an iffy. – LIttle Ancient Forest Kami Jan 22 '18 at 19:43
➜  dirA ±:(master) grep pom client/pom.xml                         [% 20:35:05]
grep:66: permission denied: client/src/main/java/client/BatClient.java

Should there be a battery percentage value of some sort next to the time value, where there's currently just a percent sign?

If so, the "permission denied" error and the missing percentage value might be related to each other: whatever your Oh-My-ZSH is doing to get that percentage could be failing, and could be causing the grep command execution to fail (i.e. the actual command might not get executed at all) as a side effect.

Note that the message is not just "permission denied", but permission denied: client/src/main/java/client/BatClient.java. BatClient sounds like something that might be used to read a battery charge value.

  • Your thinking is admirable, but I don't think that's the case here. I checked my prompt. RPROMPT='[%# %*]', that is escalation and datetime with seconds in 24h format. BatClient is totally irrelevant to battery as well. Finally, in dirB, it's Chain...java. My guess is it's first (alphabetically) file that grep reaches in a given directory. – LIttle Ancient Forest Kami Jan 23 '18 at 3:24

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