Aug 9, 2011

Why do I get “Operation not permitted” when trying to mount a volume using sshfs and MacFUSE?


I installed MacFUSE (from, restarted, and then downloaded sshfs-static-leopard.gz, and moved sshfs-static-leopard to /usr/sbin/sshfs (and did a chmod 755 on it).

I’ve configured an Ubuntu machine at work (with the hostname “daryls”) so I can ssh into it without a password. But when I try sshfs daryls:/ /Volumes/daryls -oauto_cache,reconnect,volname=daryls, I get:

warning: ssh nodelay workaround disabled
mount_fusefs: failed to mount /Volumes/daryls@/dev/fuse0: Operation not permitted

What operation is not permitted?

I’m running Mac OS X 10.6.7? Could it be that sshfs-static-leopard.gz doesn’t work with Snow Leopard? Or perhaps it only works in 32-bit mode? How do I find out if I’m booting Mac OS X in 64-bit mode?

Update: On Friday I tried this with an Ubuntu 11.04 VM (running in VMware Fusion 3.1.3). I’m pretty sure I just did a regular mkdir /Volumes/ubuntu (without sudo), followed by sshfs ubuntu:/ /Volumes/ubuntu -oauto_cache,reconnect,volname=ubuntu and it worked.

But today I’m getting the same mount_fusefs: failed to mount /Volumes/ubuntu@/dev/fuse0: Operation not permitted error.

I tried creating the /Volumes/ubuntu directory with sudo, which made no difference. Then I tried running sudo sshfs ubuntu:/ /Volumes/ubuntu -oauto_cache,reconnect,volname=ubuntu and got:

warning: ssh nodelay workaround disabled
remote host has disconnected

But ssh ubuntu works.

I have no idea why it was working and now isn’t. I’ll try restarting my MacBook Air, just in case.

Update #2: After restarting, I ran:

$ cd /Volumes/
$ mkdir ubuntu
$ sshfs ubuntu:/ /Volumes/ubuntu -oauto_cache,reconnect,volname=ubuntu
warning: ssh nodelay workaround disabled

It worked.

So I still don’t have an answer to my question. But I may have a workaround.

BTW: It says “No” across from “64-but Kernel and Extensions” under “System Software Overview” in the System Profiler (which I opened following Handyman5‘s directions).

Update #3: After getting the “Operation not permitted” error, I restarted and got it again. (In other words, restarting is not a reliable workaround.)

Update #4: This was working, and then I made the mistake of restarting my Ubuntu VM without unmounting the sshfs volume. Now I’m getting the “Operation not permitted” error again. (Perhaps the /Volumes directory is left in some kind of locked state.)

I read Handyman5‘s comment below, and then read and the man page for chflags. I then did:

$ ls -lOd /Volumes/
drwxrwxrwt@ 5 root  admin  hidden 170 Jul 15 13:22 /Volumes/
$ ls -lOd /Volumes/ubuntu/
drwxr-xr-x+ 2 root  admin  - 68 Jul 15 13:08 /Volumes/ubuntu/

(According to the chflags man page, the ls option to see flags is -O, not -o. This is confirmed in the ls man page.)

As you can see, it’s not showing any flags. (Though I wonder what the ‘@’ and ‘+’ signify. I read and played with xattr, but didn’t learn anything.)

Out of desperation, I tried sudo chflags nouchg /Volumes and sudo chflags nouchg /Volumes/ubuntu but still go the “Operation not permitted” error.


It’s possible that your user account is not able to mount volumes into the /Volumes directory directly. Have you tried mounting sshfs into a directory within your own home directory?

Failing that, you might need to have administrative (sudo) permissions to run sshfs. Try prefacing that command with sudo like so:

sudo sshfs daryls:/ /Volumes/daryls -oauto_cache,reconnect,volname=daryls

As an aside: to determine whether your Mac is running in 64-bit mode:

  1. Choose About This Mac from the Apple menu.
  2. Click More Info.
  3. Select Software in the Contents pane.
  4. Look for “64-bit Kernel and Extensions: Yes (or No)” under the System Software Overview heading.

Related posts:

  1. rsync “Operation not permitted”
  2. How and when should I mount a remote filesystem using SSHFS?
  3. Is it possible to set the cache size for fuse and/or sshfs?
  4. Dovecot, getting error: Mail access for users with UID 222 not permitted
  5. Advantages/Disadvantages for using a single volume / drive letter for Windows Server installs

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