Newbie Needing Help

Bill Tillman btillman99 at
Mon May 9 11:20:33 UTC 2011

From: Janos Dohanics <web at>
To: FreeBSD Questions <freebsd-questions at>
Sent: Mon, May 9, 2011 1:06:31 AM
Subject: Re: Newbie Needing Help

On Sun, 8 May 2011 17:17:48 -0700
John or Judy Hixson <johnorjudy at> wrote:

> [...]
> Another problem that's throwing me for a loop is that even though I'm
> logged in as root I'm getting a "permission denied" return when I
> list a file (e.g. /etc/fstab) and press enter.

When you enter a file name at the prompt, such as /etc/fstab, and you
receive the response "permission denied", it is because /etc/fstab is
not an executable file. Entering just the file name will cause the
shell to try to execute the file, but this file has no permission to be
executed, (even by root).

You can view the permissions for this file by entering:

ls -l /etc/fstab

and you'll see something similar to this:

-rw-r--r--  1 root  wheel  278 Sep 28  2008 /etc/fstab
  ^  ^  ^

However, for example, the file /bin/ls is executable:

-r-xr-xr-x  1 root  wheel  29656 Dec 11  2009 /bin/ls
  ^  ^  ^

Michael Lucas' book is a great way to get started. You can read many of
his tutorials at I have also found Dru
Lavigne's series of articles "FreeBSD Basics" a great resource

Janos Dohanics
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As you can see, many users here will be helpful. The best advice I've seen so 

is to do some google or yahoo searches for UNIX TUTORIALS and you'll find
dozens of them. The FreeBSD website has a nice section called

which will get you off to a good start. And in spite of what the VI fans will
tell you there is another built-in text editor called "ee" for Easy Editor and
it's designed for newbies to get started editing files. VI is a very powerful
tool but it's not very intuitive until you learn it or have the commands
listed next to you.

Good luck.

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