• Any reason I can't just drop a file into a directory ?

ie: /var/lib/whatever

I know it's a root access issue, but...

  • Is this not an option due to the root limitation with Ubuntu?

I have a buddy who isn't a fan of Ubuntu because of this very reason & will only run Cent OS. Is there a way to prove him otherwise?

  • 1
    What? Your friend likes running around as root and dropping files in random directories? O.o
    – muru
    Oct 13, 2014 at 3:22
  • Why do you want to put something in /var/lib? Oct 13, 2014 at 3:22
  • Wait a minute, are you claiming that CentOS allows you to drop random files in /var/lib and Ubuntu doesn't, and that's why your friend doesn't like Ubuntu? Oct 13, 2014 at 3:31
  • He's probably referring to an option to view the filesystem as root. You can do this with nautilus using sudo nautilus. I seem to remember doing that using icewm on antixos which is a debian based distro just like ubuntu. It's not that you can't, you'd just have to add the right package (file manager) or set the configuration yourself. As it's centos he's probably referring to using the KDE file manager which does allow this option. Sounds like a good social-engineering trick though!
    – mchid
    Oct 13, 2014 at 3:40

2 Answers 2


If the folder is owned by root user, and you're trying to drop the file with your user, it's normal behavior that Ubuntu doesn't allow you to do it.


  • Give write permission for your user in the desired folder (chmod 775 destination/folder)
  • Do the action you want via terminal with 'sudo' (sudo mv /path/file /destination/folder)
  • Thanks for the actual response.I'm not sure why this post garnered down votes. For those who down voted, I did a search & found post resembling error 13, but nothing was spot on for what I was asking.
    – KCMike
    Oct 13, 2014 at 15:16

The layout of the file system is based on the Filesystem Hierarchy System which designates certain directories as being available for users, and others available for the system, and so forth.

/var/lib is a space where the programs you have installed on your system can store their own information, such as system-wide settings, databases and so on. It's not intended for users to put files into.

  • I'm running Folding @ Home. It's working fine, however it won't see my GPU. I found a post on the FAH Standford page regarding Linux & how to get it to pick up the GPU. The fix is to add a GPU text file to the /var/lib/fahclient directory.
    – KCMike
    Oct 13, 2014 at 15:28

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