I am installing a few Homebrew packages on a brand new Mac. However, there are some errors while linking:

ln: ./libsvn_wc-1.dylib: Permission denied
Error: The linking step did not complete successfully
The package built, but is not symlinked into /usr/local
You can try again using `brew link subversion'
Error: Could not create symlink /usr/local/lib/libsvn_wc-1.dylib.
Check that you have permssions on /usr/local/lib
==> Summary
/usr/local/Cellar/subversion/1.6.15: 88 files, 6.0M, built in 38 seconds

So SVN isn't really installed correctly, as we can see here:

charon:~ werner$ which svn

Same error for Git:

charon:~ werner$ brew link git
Error: Permission denied - /usr/local/lib/python2.6

However, this one's installed correctly:

charon:~ werner$ which git

Should I just chmod the lib directory or is there anything else I should preferably do?

charon:~ werner$ ls -l /usr/local/
total 8
drwxr-xr-x   7 werner  staff   238 Mar  8 15:58 Cellar
drwxr-xr-x   6 werner  staff   204 Mar  8 14:21 Library
-rw-r--r--   1 werner  staff  1614 Mar  8 14:21 README.md
drwxr-xr-x  56 werner  staff  1904 Mar  8 15:59 bin
drwxr-xr-x   4 werner  staff   136 Mar  8 15:46 etc
drwxr-xr-x   3 werner  staff   102 Mar  8 15:59 include
drwxr-xr-x   3 root    wheel   102 Apr 17  2010 lib
drwxr-xr-x  12 werner  staff   408 Mar  8 15:57 share
drwxr-xr-x   4 root    wheel   136 Mar  8 14:43 texlive

1 Answer 1


As of writing, Homebrew requires the contents of /usr/local to be chown'd to your username. This doesn't seem like a great solution, but it works, and is evidently the recommended use. See: https://github.com/mxcl/homebrew/issues/9953#issuecomment-3800557

You can do:

sudo chown -R `whoami` /usr/local
  • 2
    Also worth checking out: Fix permissions on /usr/local for Homebrew — Gist
    – slhck
    Jul 18, 2012 at 0:08
  • this fixed my installation issue with TMUX as well, thanks Dec 8, 2012 at 11:40
  • i had an errors when linking my pcre and the message like this one Error: Permission denied - /usr/local/share/doc/pcre/README ... this command fix that.. thx a lot
    – risnandar
    Jul 12, 2013 at 14:22
  • This works, but upon restarting, i have to run it again on osx 10.10
    – Jamie S
    Jan 7, 2016 at 23:10
  • i get : chown: /usr/local: Operation not permitted - even though I am the only administrator of this mac
    – Leon
    Mar 22, 2021 at 11:02

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