Zotero on Ubuntu Does Not Update: How to Fix the Permissions

My Zotero did not update, showing a dialog that while there is an update available, I apparently lacked the permissions to update. First I tried to chmod the directory where I extracted Zotero to, and the Zotero binary, but that did not change the error message. It turns out there is another directory that needs to be changed:

sudo chmod 707 /usr/bin/zotero && sudo chmod -R 707 /opt/zotero

(in the terminal) and now everything works as it should.

Update 10 April 2019: see comments for a more appropriate handling of the permissions.

6 thoughts on “Zotero on Ubuntu Does Not Update: How to Fix the Permissions

  1. Permissions 707 is equivalent to Other:Read+Write+Execute, that is — anyone can delete files in the /opt/zotero directory. Generous or reckelss?

    If you’re in generous but sane mind, then allow this only to your Group (770), or if this is a personal Ubuntu, just set the ownership on the /opt/zotero to your user account:

    chmod -R youruser:youruser /opt/zotero

    OR, better yet — create another group, say, zotero, add your username to that group and set the ownership of the /opt/zotero to the group, while setting the permission to Group:Read+Wrtie+Execute:

    ## 1.Create a new group: for example, new GID=2001, check what’s existing in ‘cat /etc/group’
    sudo groupadd -g GID zotero

    ## 2.Add your USERNAME to zotero group
    sudo adduser USERNAME zotero

    ## 3. Set ownership and group permissions on zotero installation dir, e.g. /opt/zotero
    sudo chown -R root:zotero /opt/zotero
    sudo chmod -R g+w /opt/zotero

    Update zotero from zotero menu Help>Check for Updates…

    Alternatively, your username is probably a member of sudo group, so just run the step 3. for group named “sudo”, that is user root:sudo

    1. Thanks for checking in with these details! As the sole user of the machine, I was happy enough for this quick fix. You are right, though, as a general fix, this may be too generous.

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