Getting this very bizarre error from libtool when trying to install a package I built. It happens when running in a subdirectory (src/api) of the source tree:

make[5]: Leaving directory '/users/galac/embray/src/slurm/src/api'
 /bin/mkdir -p '/usr/local/lib'
 /bin/bash ../../libtool   --mode=install /usr/bin/install -c   libslurm.la '/usr/local/lib'
../../libtool: line 929: cd: ../..: Not a directory

The relevant section of libtool looks like this:

  914 # Work around backward compatibility issue on IRIX 6.5. On IRIX 6.4+, sh
  915 # is ksh but when the shell is invoked as "sh" and the current value of
  916 # the _XPG environment variable is not equal to 1 (one), the special
  917 # positional parameter $0, within a function call, is the name of the
  918 # function.
  919 progpath=$0
  921 # The name of this program.
  922 progname=`$ECHO "$progpath" |$SED "$sed_basename"`
  924 # Make sure we have an absolute progpath for reexecution:
  925 case $progpath in
  926   [\\/]*|[A-Za-z]:\\*) ;;
  927   *[\\/]*)
  928      progdir=`$ECHO "$progpath" |$SED "$sed_dirname"`
  929      progdir=`cd "$progdir" && pwd`
  930      progpath=$progdir/$progname
  931      ;;
  932   *)
  933      _G_IFS=$IFS
  934      IFS=${PATH_SEPARATOR-:}
  935      for progdir in $PATH; do
  936        IFS=$_G_IFS
  937        test -x "$progdir/$progname" && break
  938      done
  939      IFS=$_G_IFS
  940      test -n "$progdir" || progdir=`pwd`
  941      progpath=$progdir/$progname
  942      ;;
  943 esac

If I insert set -x into the script around this section, I see the following trace:

+ progpath=../../libtool
++ printf '%s\n' ../../libtool
++ /bin/sed 's|^.*/||'
+ progname=libtool
+ case $progpath in
++ printf '%s\n' ../../libtool
++ /bin/sed 's|/[^/]*$||'
+ progdir=../..
++ cd ../..
../../libtool: line 930: cd: ../..: Not a directory
+ progdir=
+ progpath=/libtool

this leads to further errors since it does not set progpath=../../libtool, the correct path for libtool itself (in the top-level source dir). It also seems to be correctly setting progdir=../... So why is ../.. not a directory?

Clearly it looks fine if I check manually:

~/src/slurm/src/api$ ls -ld ../..
drwxr-xr-x 11 xxxxxx xxxxx 4096 May 14 14:52 ../..

It is not a symlink or anything like that.

Never seen anything like this in my 20 years of development.

  • 2
    I'm a bit confused by the Not a directory error. What shell outputs this message? The bash shell says No such file or directory, not just Not a directory. The dash shell says can't cd to <pathname>. What system are you running on?
    – Kusalananda
    Commented May 14, 2020 at 13:13
  • @Kusalananda Thanks for the comment. That actually points me in the right direction. I think I know what the problem is now.
    – Iguananaut
    Commented May 14, 2020 at 13:14
  • 1
    BTW the shell is definitely bash, but the message is not coming from bash but rather the filesystem. It's an nfs mount :facepalm:
    – Iguananaut
    Commented May 14, 2020 at 13:16
  • 2
    @Kusalananda, you do get a Not a directory error in cd /etc/passwd or cd /dev/null/foo. That is, it's a ENOTDIR error here, not ENOENT. (and the message does come from bash's cd builtin in any case based on the errno returned by chdir(2)). Commented May 15, 2020 at 7:31
  • @StéphaneChazelas So it is, and that's true for other cd implementations as well.
    – Kusalananda
    Commented May 15, 2020 at 7:44

1 Answer 1


The problem was that I'm on an NFS mount on an HPC system (on which I have administrative privileges). But the error occurred when running sudo make install.

The NFS server appears to be using the root_squash option, which makes NFS mounts unreadable by the root user; see https://linux.die.net/man/5/exports

The solution is to simply move my build to a non-NFS filesystem and install from there. Thanks to everyone who had a look.

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