This was to be a two part set of blog posts but This Week in Ontario Edublogs got into the middle of things.
If you think back a couple of days ago, I wrote a post titled “Why wouldn’t you use the tools you can?” where I discussed how I had encountered a problem upgrading my instance of Ubuntu. I had this obscure looking error message
“Can not run the upgrade. This usually is caused by a system where /tmp is mounted noexec. Please remount without noexec and run the upgrade again.“
and basically had to solve it before I could go any further.
Rather than tinkering around, I copied the message exactly as it was displayed and pasted it into a search engine. I got lots of hits for answers, found the one that made the most sense
sudo mount -o remount,exec /tmp
opened a terminal and ran it. Problem solved.
As I continued to think about this, I realized that, while I had solved my problem, I hadn’t learned very much. I had done what we tell students not to do. How many times do we hear “Just Google it”. Heck, it was even advice given in the latest presidential debate.
So to complete the learning process, I needed to dig a bit deeper.
I could make some pretty good guesses about what happened.
SUDO – This is required knowledge when working on a Linux machine. By default, many of the commands that could destroy your system are not available to the regular user. Imagine a school computer with no restraints. There does come a time when you need to do some major surgery and so you elevate the process with this – “SuperUser do”. My time managing a QNX system paid off. A complete discussion is available here. ROOTSUDO
MOUNT – I knew what was happening here too. Basically, in order to read and/or write to a drive or device, it needs to be mounted. The key though, and why it applied here, is that you have to have the proper permissions. In this case, I needed to make the /tmp folder executable. The mount command includes the ability to add options (-o) to it. That completed the puzzle. A complete discussion is available here. mount – Unix, Linux Command
Therein is my learning for this event.
If it happens again, I’d probably search and copy/paste like I did this time but my background knowledge means that I’ll be a little more confident doing so.
It was a good time and thing to learn. Without the actual need to solve a problem though, if I was in a class, I think I would be justified to be taking notes and asking “When will I ever need this?”