Error on Installation of DB2 /tmp/…: Permission Denied

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I haven’t actually personally installed DB2 in about a year. We scripted it out, and I’ve been spoiled to just use the script. But now we have a custom server that varies enough from our standards that I’m installing it manually. The OS is Red Hat 6.2.

db2_install or db2setup

So today when I went to install, I got this error:

 /opt/media/x86_64/DB2/ese/db2/linuxamd64/install/db2setup: line 484: /tmp/db2.tmp.5703/db2/linuxamd64/install//db2chgpath: Permission denied
/opt/media/x86_64/DB2/ese/db2/linuxamd64/install/db2setup: line 815: /tmp/db2.tmp.5703/db2/linuxamd64/install//db2setup_exec: Permission denied
/opt/media/x86_64/DB2/ese/db2/linuxamd64/install/db2setup: line 815: exec: /tmp/db2.tmp.5703/db2/linuxamd64/install//db2setup_exec: cannot execute: Permission denied

It actually sounded pretty straight forward, but I was logged in as root, which should have permssions on everything. When I checked the permissions on /tmp they were pretty wide open.

It didn’t take much time searching to discover the issue, and there are other sources for the solution than my blog, but I thought I’d share it with my readers. Interestingly enough, I ran into the exact error above (including file names) when using both db2_install and db2setup. I also ran into similar errors with similar solutions on both installFixPack and db2_deinstall.

Mabye I’m just late to the game, as I remember someone asking me if I had edited the install scripts at the conference and being just baffled as to why I would ever have to do that. I guess I know now. In any case, the solution is to create your own TMP directory somewhere else. In my case, I ran:

mkdir /db2home/db2inst1/tmp

I then had to go and edit the file it referred to – in the case of the error above, ‘/opt/media/x86_64/DB2/ese/db2/linuxamd64/install/db2setup’ to specify the different path. There’s a variable in there called TMPDIR, and it looks like this:


I changed that to:


When I executed the db2_install again, it was successful.


The error I got for the installFixPack was:

/opt/media/x86_64/DB2/universal/db2/linuxamd64/install/installFixPack: line 249: /tmp/db2.tmp.20614/db2/linuxamd64/install//db2chgpath: Permission denied
/opt/media/x86_64/DB2/universal/db2/linuxamd64/install/installFixPack: line 997: /tmp/installFixPack_exec.20614: Permission denied
/opt/media/x86_64/DB2/universal/db2/linuxamd64/install/installFixPack: line 997: exec: /tmp/installFixPack_exec.20614: cannot execute: Permission denied 

In that case, the same edits were needed to ‘/opt/media/x86_64/DB2/universal/db2/linuxamd64/install/installFixPack’.


And the final case where I ran into the issue was with db2_deinstall. That one looked like this:

/opt/ibm/db2/V9.7/install/db2_deinstall: line 1037: /tmp/db2_deinstall_exec.25903: Permission denied
/opt/ibm/db2/V9.7/install/db2_deinstall: line 1037: exec: /tmp/db2_deinstall_exec.25903: cannot execute: Permission denied 

In that case, the file to edit was ‘>/opt/ibm/db2/V9.7/install/db2_deinstall’. The interesting thing about db2_deinstall was that it had not just one but two places where I had to make the same change within the script before it worked.

But, Why?

The entire reason this error occurs is because in some cases, /tmp is mounted with ‘noexec’, which means that no matter what the filesystem permissions look like, no one, including root, can execute things from there. This is a security feature. DB2 is apparently unusual in that it copies things to /tmp before executing them when it is being installed.

If you want more information on the security advantages of mounting /tmp with noexec, check out this discussion:

Ember is always curious and thrives on change. She has built internationally recognized expertise in IBM Db2, and is now pivoting to focus on learning MySQL. Ember shares both posts about her core skill set and her journey learning MySQL. Ember lives in Denver and work from home


  1. You don’t have to edit the install script to fix this behavior. You can just set the environment variable DB2TMPDIR:

    export DB2TMPDIR=/db2home/db2inst1/tmp

    In SQL, the problem statement you highlighted is effectively doing:

    set TMPDIR = COALESCE(DB2TMPDIR, ‘/tmp’)

  2. This error also occurs if any mounted filesystem contains the substring “/tmp” and is mounted as “noexec”. The installer doesn’t check if “/tmp” is an exact match as the mountpoint.

    The same fix is effective – create a separate temporary area, and point DB2TMPDIR to it before running the installer.

  3. This is a great information. I was in a project where we put number efforts to increase /tmp to 2GB some times we went to rootVG migration. too. So by this way we can avoid and save number of man hours for the db2 upgrade projects 🙂 Thank you Ember. You are the best !!!

  4. Awesome guys!
    I’d also like to share that I could fix issues related to lack of space in / filesystem by using these variables before installing:
    export DB2WORK_DIR=/db2home/db2inst1/tmp
    export DB2WORKDIR=/db2home/db2inst1/tmp

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