John John - 2 months ago 13
Linux Question

Cannot use mkdir in home directory: permission denied (Linux Lubuntu)

I am trying to create a directory in my home directory on Linux using the mkdir command, but am getting a 'permission denied' error. I have recently installed Lubuntu on my laptop, and have the only user profile on the computer.

Here's what happened on my command line:

jdub@Snowball:~$ cd /home
jdub@Snowball:/home$ mkdir bin
mkdir: cannot create directory ‘bin’: Permission denied
jdub@Snowball:/home$


How do I gain access to this folder? I am trying to write a script and following a tutorial here: http://linuxcommand.org/wss0010.php

Thanks for your help!

Answer

As @kirbyfan64sos notes in a comment, /home is NOT your home directory (a.k.a. home folder):

The fact that /home is an absolute, literal path that has no user-specific component provides a clue.

While /home happens to be the parent directory of all user-specific home directories on Linux-based systems, you shouldn't even rely on that, given that this differs across platforms: for instance, the equivalent directory on OS X is /Users.

What all Unix platforms DO have in common are the following ways to navigate to / refer to your home directory:

  • Using cd with NO argument changes to your home dir., i.e., makes your home dir. the working directory.
    • e.g.: cd # changes to home dir; e.g., '/home/jdoe'
  • Unquoted ~ by itself / unquoted ~/ at the start of a path string represents your home dir. / a path starting at your home dir.; this is referred to as tilde expansion (see man bash)
    • e.g.: echo ~ # outputs, e.g., '/home/jdoe'
  • $HOME - as part of either unquoted or preferably a double-quoted string - refers to your home dir. HOME is a predefined, user-specific environment variable:
    • e.g.: cd "$HOME/tmp" # changes to your personal folder for temp. files

Thus, to create the desired folder, you could use:

mkdir "$HOME/bin"  # same as: mkdir ~/bin

Note that most locations outside your home dir. require superuser (root user) privileges in order to create files or directories - that's why you ran into the Permission denied error.

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