I'm trying to create a directory in my home directory but the shell itself keeps crashing. I have permission to write to the directory. I am able to create files in the directory via touch. I can create directories in csh. When I try with bash, I get a fairly large core dump (~59M), but because bash is the binary the backtrace is not very helpful (just lots of "execute_command_internal()" calls). The name of the directory I'm creating doesn't seem to matter. I can try in other directories and I get the same strange behavior. I can use su to emulate another user who can create directories in my directory (once I've set the permissions to allow that), but I can't do it myself without bash crashing. I have tried rebooting the machine.

I am really baffled. Does anyone have any thoughts on what this could be or further things I can do to troubleshoot it?

Xubuntu 14.04, Bash 4.3.11(1)-release

EDIT: BASHOPTS=checkwinsize:cmdhist:complete_fullquote:expand_aliases:extglob:extquote:force_fignore:histappend:interactive_comments:login_shell:progcomp:promptvars:sourcepath

The command is just mkdir a or something similar.


ldd /bin/mkdir yields:

linux-vdso.so.1 =>  (0x00007ffff55fd000)
libselinux.so.1 => /lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/libselinux.so.1 (0x00007fadc606a000)
libc.so.6 => /lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/libc.so.6 (0x00007fadc5ca4000)
libpcre.so.3 => /lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/libpcre.so.3 (0x00007fadc5a65000)
libdl.so.2 => /lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/libdl.so.2 (0x00007fadc5861000)
/lib64/ld-linux-x86-64.so.2 (0x00007fadc62ab000)
  • 1
    Is your system up to date? Try sudo apt-get update followed by installing any out of date packages. Close and reopen the shell. If that does not work, try making a new user with a fresh shell and have that user make a directory in his own home directory. – nixeagle Sep 23 '14 at 22:46
  • @nixeagle - yes, it's up to date (fresh install as of yesterday). Closing and opening the shell won't work as I've already crashed the shell repeatedly, so I've had to open a new one each time. New user can create directories with no problems anywhere. – William Everett Sep 23 '14 at 22:50
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    I am willing to suspect your problem has to do with a custom .bashrc or other shell customization. A new user would have none of that. If so, could you include the custom scripts, if not make a new user and post BASHOPTS and any other relevant environment variables. – nixeagle Sep 23 '14 at 22:56
  • @nixeagle - I'm an idiot. I migrated some bash functions from another machine including a custom mkdir that was missing a variable. If you want to put something about not being a dumbass as an answer, I will accept it. – William Everett Sep 23 '14 at 23:02
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    Since you solved your own problem, go ahead and answer your own question :). Cheers! – nixeagle Sep 23 '14 at 23:04

I'm an idiot.

I had copied a bash function from somewhere that looked like this:

    [ $# -eq 0 ] && { echo "$0 dirname [permissions]"; return; }
    [ -d "$1" ] && { echo "%1 already exists!"; return; }
    mkdir -m ${2:-0755} -p "$1"

Problem was that I had previously had an alias like alias md="mkdir" so when bash parsed the new bash function, it expanded the md() to mkdir() and the function became infinitely recursive and crashed the shell.

  • 1
    you are not an idiot – kouty Aug 30 '16 at 18:19

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