Bug 129700 - cannot --initdb --dbpath unless running as root; transaction lock
cannot --initdb --dbpath unless running as root; transaction lock
Product: Fedora
Classification: Fedora
Component: rpm (Show other bugs)
i386 Linux
medium Severity medium
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Assigned To: Jeff Johnson
Depends On:
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Reported: 2004-08-11 17:20 EDT by Enrique Perez-Terron
Modified: 2007-11-30 17:10 EST (History)
6 users (show)

See Also:
Fixed In Version:
Doc Type: Bug Fix
Doc Text:
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Clone Of:
Last Closed: 2005-02-07 17:46:09 EST
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oVirt Team: ---
RHEL 7.3 requirements from Atomic Host:
Cloudforms Team: ---

Attachments (Terms of Use)
rpmlock-local.patch (1.30 KB, patch)
2004-09-07 03:50 EDT, Anders F Björklund
no flags Details | Diff
rpm-4.3-rpmlock.patch (1.29 KB, patch)
2004-09-22 11:13 EDT, Anders F Björklund
no flags Details | Diff

  None (edit)
Description Enrique Perez-Terron 2004-08-11 17:20:25 EDT
From Bugzilla Helper:
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Description of problem:
Unless runngin as root, the commands 

   mkdir $HOME/rpmdb
   rpm --initdb --dbpath $HOME/rpmdb

produces the error message

   error: can't create transaction lock

This precludes user installation of relocatable packages.

Version-Release number of selected component (if applicable):

How reproducible:

Steps to Reproduce:
1. su - $USER                           # Make sure not running as root
2. rm -rf $HOME/rpmdb; mkdir $HOME/rpmdb # Clean slate
3. rpm --initdb --dbpath $HOME/rpmdb     # Fails

Actual Results:  error: can't create transaction lock

Expected Results:  create an empty rpm database in $HOME/rpmdb

Additional info:

The error message comes from the function 
  void *rpmtsAcquireLock(rpmts ts)
in lib/rpmlock.c. This function executes the call
  lock = rpmlock_new(rootDir)
This function unconditionally tries to open the file
/var/lock/rpm/transaction for read-write. Failing this, it opens it
for read instead, but the caller checks how the file was opened, and
fails unless the mode incudes write access.

I suggest that rpmlock_new, in the case that dbpath has been specified
different from the default value, uses a transaction lock file in the
dbpath directory.
Comment 1 Enrique Perez-Terron 2004-08-11 19:21:23 EDT
A better suggestion is perhaps not to use the transaction lock file at
all, but rather 
  - do nothing if %{dbpath}/Packages exists (ie. fail)
  - create it and write-lock it if %{dbpath}/Packages does not exist.

As long as Packages does not exist, no transaction can be in progress

Creation should probably be using a different name at first, lock the
open file, then rename it. Then the file is locked from the moment it
comes into existence under its true name. 

If the rename fails because another file of that name has appeared in
the mean time, the operation should simply fail as if */Packages had
existed from the outset.

If the locking fails, the operation should fail with an appropriate
error message. This should be exceedingly rare.
Comment 2 Enrique Perez-Terron 2004-08-12 05:30:08 EDT
This bug is probably the same as 129463, but that one is filed against
Fedora Core 1, which is probably why I did not see it.
Comment 3 Anders F Björklund 2004-09-07 03:10:06 EDT
To make matters worse, /var/lock/rpm is also wrapped
in an "%ifos linux" which makes RPM 4.3 unportable...

Q: Why can't the lock file live in %{dbpath} instead ?
Think I will do a quick hack change and try it out.
Comment 4 Anders F Björklund 2004-09-07 03:50:15 EDT
Created attachment 103528 [details]

Something like this... (just for the discussion)
Comment 5 Anders F Björklund 2004-09-22 11:13:01 EDT
Created attachment 104131 [details]

Messed up the rpmGetPath in the old patch.
This one has been tested and seems to work?
Comment 6 Anders F Björklund 2004-09-25 10:34:12 EDT
Jeff says that: "-initdb has been unnecessary for years"
(probably time to mention this in some documentation ?)

Which means that you can just start installing with
--dbpath and --root, to test packages somewhere else...

Above patch should do much harm then either, I think ?
(just create an unnecessary file in the %{dbpath} )
Comment 7 Michael Lasevich 2005-01-21 15:35:43 EST
Will this patch make it into the main code base?

And just to let you know, this bug does not only affect initdb, it 
affects any operation requiring writing to a non-root db (install, 
erase, etc.) 

We use RPM to distribute packages that install via a non-priveleged 
user to a private db, and ever since 4.3 this functionality has been 
broken. Right now to be able to support our clients on Linux with rpm 
4.3, we have to re-compile our own rpm distribution packages using 
the patch above, but it would be very nice if this was no longer 

Thank you.

Comment 8 Anders F Björklund 2005-01-26 08:48:56 EST
There is a similar patch going to rpm-4_3, rpm-4_4 and HEAD soon:

	- move global /var/lock/rpm/transaction to dbpath.
	- permit fcntl path to be configured through rpmlock_path macro.
Comment 9 Jeff Johnson 2005-02-07 17:46:09 EST
Fixed in rpm-4.4.1-0.18.

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