I am studying for a Linux certification from the Linux foundation but I have some questions about one lab. Here is the lab:

Create a directory called backup and in it place a compressed tar archive of all the files under /usr/include, with the highest level directory being include. You can use any compression method (gzip, bzip2 or xzip).

I started with mkdir backup and then tar -C /usr -zcf include.tar.gz include:

harrydevries@harrydevries-410-100nd:/usr$ tar -C /usr -zcf include.tar.gz include
tar (child): include.tar.gz: Functie open() is mislukt: Toegang geweigerd
tar (child): Error is not recoverable: exiting now

Can anyone help? I'm using Ubuntu 14.04 Harry de Vries

  • My dutch is not very good but I think tar tells you that it was denied permission to the /usr folder. Try sudo tar zcvf include.tar.gz include . Feb 19, 2016 at 11:21
  • I actually wanted to comment since I can't I've to do this way.What you're doing is compressing the actual /use/include folder which is wrong I guess because of dependencies issues. Instead what you have to do is make a copy of all the files and folders to your backup folder and compress it.
    – arvind
    Feb 19, 2016 at 11:23
  • Please edit your question and include the output of the same command with LC-ALL=C before it: LC_ALL=C tar -C ....
    – terdon
    Feb 19, 2016 at 11:24
  • seems reasonable i will try , copy and than tar everyting
    – Mokum
    Feb 19, 2016 at 11:25
  • What dependency issues? The tar command won't replace any of the existing files, it will make a copy.
    – terdon
    Feb 19, 2016 at 11:26

1 Answer 1


Having put your error through Google translate, the problem is (obviously enough) a question of permissions. Next time, please either translate the error messages or —even better—prepend LC_ALL=C to any command you run so the errors can be in English.

Anyway, the error is:

$ cd /usr ; tar zcvf include.tar.gz include
tar (child): include.tar.gz: Cannot open: Permission denied
tar (child): Error is not recoverable: exiting now

This is because you are trying to run this from the /usr directory and are specifying that the archive should be created in /usr as well. To avoid this, either give a path for the tar ball:

mkdir ~/backup; cd /usr ; tar zcvf ~/backup/include.tar.gz include

Or, even better, don't cd to /usr at all:

mkdir ~/backup; tar zcvf ~/backup/include.tar.gz /usr/include
  • Thanx terdon this worked out fine, i understand now .
    – Mokum
    Feb 19, 2016 at 11:34

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