The answers in the previous question did not help - Can't edit /etc/profile on my mac

I want to edit /etc/profile but I can't, even when I open it with sudo. I manually changed the permissions on the file with

sudo chmod u+w /etc/profile

And now I get a different error when I try to save the file. Instead of it telling me I don't have permission, the dialog simply says "The document 'profile' could not be saved." How can I change the file?

  • What program are you using to edit the file via sudo? – Kent Jun 13 '13 at 23:36
  • I am using TextEdit – Eric Baldwin Jun 13 '13 at 23:42
  • You should use an editor inside the Terminal, such as emacs, vi, or pico. Running a window app such as TextEdit as sudo does not work. (Specifically, you should run "sudo emacs /etc/profile" or "sudo vi /etc/profile") – Kent Jun 13 '13 at 23:48
  • u+w isn't what you want... you aren't the user... you want to give group/other write if you are going that route. sudo chmod go+w /etc/profile. – demure Jun 14 '13 at 1:21

It should work if you run the executable as root:

sudo /Applications/TextEdit.app/Contents/MacOS/TextEdit

If you run sudo chmod u+w /etc/profile and open /etc/profile normally with TextEdit, TextEdit shows an error because it doesn't have write permission to /private/etc/. TextEdit has also required write permission to the containing directory since 10.7, which might have something to do with auto-save or sandboxing.

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