File locking

Brian M. Carlson karlsson at
Sat Sep 28 01:56:02 CEST 2002

When I use the following command line:

bmc at stonewall:~$ gpg --no-default-keyring --secret-keyring /dev/null --keyring foo.gpg --import pgpmsg.asc 
gpg: failed to create temporary file `/dev/.#lk0x80ddfb8.stonewall.21773': Permission denied
gpg: can't allocate lock for `/dev/null'
gpg: error writing keyring `/home/bmc/.gnupg/foo.gpg': general error
gpg: key 560553E7: public key "[User id not found]" imported
gpg: error reading `pgpmsg.asc': general error
gpg: import from `pgpmsg.asc' failed: general error
gpg: Total number processed: 0
gpg:               imported: 1  (RSA: 1)

gnupg refuses to import because it tries to lock /dev/null. /dev/null
does not need to be locked. In fact, several programs would panic if
/dev/null were at any time unavailable. This is also the wrong way to
lock /dev/null. FHS specifies a different way to lock devices (see
section 5.6 of the FHS). *Please* do not lock /dev/null.

NB: This is Debian Bug #48077, which has been open for 2 years and 342

Brian M. Carlson <karlsson at> <> 0x560553E7
A long memory is the most subversive idea in America.
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