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I'm trying to get Homebrew to work. That program's diagnosis tool gives me these suggestions:

You should probably chown /usr/local/etc

...

You should probably chown them:

/usr/local/share/man/de
/usr/local/share/man/de/man1

Because these directories are not writable. I haven't changed owner or group before. Right now the owner of etc is root and the group is wheel, my username is something else.

Is it safe to change the owner of these folders on OS X? I am concerned that my user won't have all the privileges of root and therefore other applications will bump into problems, although my account is an admin account.

  • 1
    Generally speaking (I do not know about Mac OS X specifically), /usr/local is supposed to be managed by the administrator, not the system. If you are building from source code or installing from some prepared package, it may be easier to set the installation prefix to something completely under your control (e.g. ~/homebrew). – a CVn May 14 '13 at 9:10
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Here are the full error messages to make this question more searchable:

Warning: /usr/local/etc isn't writable.
This can happen if you "sudo make install" software that isn't managed by
by Homebrew. If a brew tries to write a file to this directory, the
install will fail during the link step.

You should probably `chown` /usr/local/etc

Warning: Some directories in /usr/local/share/man aren't writable.
This can happen if you "sudo make install" software that isn't managed
by Homebrew. If a brew tries to add locale information to one of these
directories, then the install will fail during the link step.
You should probably `chown` them:

    /usr/local/share/man/de
    /usr/local/share/man/de/man1

That can also happen if those directories were created by an installer (like a MacTeX or ImageMagick installer) or by sudo easy_install or sudo pip install.

Changing the owners of those directories should be safe:

sudo chown $USER /usr/local/etc /usr/local/share/man/de{,/man1}

This shows files owned by root sorted by creation time:

find /usr/local/{etc,share/man} -user root -exec stat -f '%B %N' {} \; | sort

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