I am trying to start a PostgreSQL server (9.3) on Ubuntu 14.04. I am following this standard tutorial: https://help.ubuntu.com/community/PostgreSQL

After updating to from 13.10 to 14.04 I purged the PostgreSQL installation because of a variety of difficulties I had inside pgadmin after the update.

Using this command after the fresh install:

    sudo -u postgres psql postgres


    sudo: unknown user: postgres
    sudo: rule-plugin could not be initialized

I couldn't find any solution to this, but I have to admit I only use postgresql to house my GIS-databases and I am pretty overwhelmed since encountering all these problems.


Output of ls -la /var/lib/postgresql is "Can't access /var/lib/postgresql: File or directory not found" (translated from German)

Edit 2 (purged and reinstalled):

    Paketlisten werden gelesen... Fertig
    Abhängigkeitsbaum wird aufgebaut.       
    Statusinformationen werden eingelesen.... Fertig
    Das folgende Paket wurde automatisch installiert und wird nicht mehr benötigt:
    Verwenden Sie »apt-get autoremove«, um es zu entfernen.
    Vorgeschlagene Pakete:
      oidentd ident-server locales-all
    Die folgenden NEUEN Pakete werden installiert:
    0 aktualisiert, 1 neu installiert, 0 zu entfernen und 0 nicht aktualisiert.
    Es müssen noch 0 B von 3.451 kB an Archiven heruntergeladen werden.
    Nach dieser Operation werden 17,5 MB Plattenplatz zusätzlich benutzt.
    Vormals nicht ausgewähltes Paket postgresql-9.3 wird gewählt.
    (Lese Datenbank ... 457272 Dateien und Verzeichnisse sind derzeit installiert.)
    Vorbereitung zum Entpacken von .../postgresql-9.3_9.3.4-1.pgdg14.04+1_amd64.deb ...
    Entpacken von postgresql-9.3 (9.3.4-1.pgdg14.04+1) ...
    Trigger für postgresql-common (154.pgdg14.04+1) werden verarbeitet ...
    Building PostgreSQL dictionaries from installed myspell/hunspell packages...
    Removing obsolete dictionary files:
    postgresql-9.3 (9.3.4-1.pgdg14.04+1) wird eingerichtet ...
    Use of uninitialized value $owneruid in getpwuid at /usr/bin/pg_createcluster line 277.
    Error: clusters must not be owned by root
    Error: could not create default cluster. Please create it manually with

      pg_createcluster 9.3 main --start

    or a similar command (see 'man pg_createcluster').
    update-alternatives: /usr/share/postgresql/9.3/man/man1/postmaster.1.gz wird verwendet, um /usr/share/man/man1/postmaster.1.gz (postmaster.1.gz) im Auto-Modus bereitzustellen
     * No PostgreSQL clusters exist; see "man pg_createcluster"
  • 1
    What is the output of ls -la /var/lib/postgresql?
    – Salem
    May 9, 2014 at 21:17
  • @salem - the directory is actually missing (see edit above). That is weird after a fresh install. May 9, 2014 at 21:22
  • 1
    Weird... Can you remove it again (apt-get purge postgresql-9.3), install it and post the output of apt-get install postgresql-9.3 ? There may be any clue there. Also check if you can get any relevant information from /var/log/postgresql/postgresql-9.3-main.log.
    – Salem
    May 9, 2014 at 21:29
  • @salem - the last few lines don't look good. May 9, 2014 at 21:37

1 Answer 1


NOTE: I am assuming you don't have any important data there or you have some backup of it. If that's not the case before doing anything you should create a backup of your data!

It seems that, for some reason, it is not creating the required user while installing. You can try to create it manually and see how it goes:

$ sudo useradd -U -s /bin/bash postgres

After that run the command apt suggested previously:

$ sudo pg_createcluster 9.3 main --start

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