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why "permission error" if i'm not trying to change alternatives?



  just checking the java setup on my f11 system so -- as a non-root
user -- i run the following and get:

$ /usr/sbin/alternatives --config java

There are 2 programs which provide 'java'.

  Selection    Command
-----------------------------------------------
*+ 1           /usr/lib/jvm/jre-1.6.0-openjdk.x86_64/bin/java
   2           /usr/lib/jvm/jre-1.5.0-gcj/bin/java

Enter to keep the current selection[+], or type selection number: <ENTER>
failed to create /var/lib/alternatives/java.new: Permission denied
$

  i had no intention of changing the java setup, which is why i
pressed <ENTER>, but i got a "Permission denied" error anyway.  why?
if i choose to *not* modify my alternatives setup, what's happening
underneath that i don't have permission to do?  that just seems odd.

rday
--

========================================================================
Robert P. J. Day                               Waterloo, Ontario, CANADA

        Linux Consulting, Training and Annoying Kernel Pedantry.

Web page:                                          http://crashcourse.ca
Twitter:                                       http://twitter.com/rpjday
"Kernel Newbie Corner" column @ linux.com:          http://cli.gs/WG6WYX
========================================================================


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