Fink Troubles – Cannot perform symlink test

So, I’m trying to start developing, using my MacBook and OSX as a development platform.

I need GD for PHP, and I can’t be screwed compiling it from source (that’s why I’ve also moved from Gentoo to Ubuntu. Binaries make life easier). Fink is a brilliant service that provides an almost ‘apt’ way of getting and installing software. With Fink, I can issue a single command in terminal and have GD install itself.

My problem, however, was that Fink wasn’t installing. At the install volume selection screen, I wasn’t able to select my root volume. It’s reasoning was: “You cannot install Fink on this volume. Cannot perform symlink test on this volume because of a permissions problem. Try performing the “Repair Disk Permissions” function in Disk Utility”.

After several Verify and Repair permissions commands, I still had no joy. I noticed that the Disk Utility log was spouting the line: “ACL present but not expected for…”. After some investigation, those lines are merely informational. As Fink still wasn’t installing, I decided to fix them by running ‘chmod -a# 0’ on the directories affected. This still didn’t help! I was at breaking point.

I decided to fix it my way (read: quick and simple).

Entering the Fink Installer Package (right-click, Show Package Contents – in Finder), I could see three scripts in the Resources folder, one of which was VolumeCheck, which basically tells the Installer if you have permissions to the Volume in question. Editing this script, I made sure it did nothing but return an exit-code of ‘0’ back to the installer.

Hey-presto, it works, and there’s no noticable issues with Fink. GD installs perfectly.

In a nutshell:

  1. Copy the Fink Installer Package out of the DMG and into your home folder.
  2. Go into the folder where you copied the package, right click on the package and click ‘Show Package Contents”
  3. Navigate to the Resources directory, which resides inside the Contents directory.
  4. Delete the existing VolumeCheck script.
  5. Download this file – volumecheck – and extract it into the Resources directory in the package.
  6. Run the installer!

If you have this problem, and this fix works for you, be sure to post a comment – I’m interested to see how many people this happens to.

– NM

Nathan Manzi

I'm a geek, a husband, and a dad. I get excited when the word 'virtualization' is mentioned, and I spend most of my time working in that space. I also like to play computer games when I'm not playing with my kids, running, lifting heavy things, or studying.

  • I had this problem. I took your pointer to the VolumeCheck script and looked around.

    The test is whether / is writeable, and fails. Running as a regular user / is not writeable.

    bash-3.2# sudo ls -ld /
    drwxr-xr-x 36 root admin 1292 13 Sep 15:39 /

    I did this:
    bash-3.2# sudo chmod 777 /

    and the installation completed fine.

  • I had this same problem too. The cause it what stephen mentioned that the installation does not try and run as the root and therefore doesn’t have write access to ‘/’. running the following will fix it.

    $ sudo chmod 777 /

    i would also suggest running the following after the installation to return your permissions to a less vulnerable state.

    $ sudo chmod 755 /

  • Sean

    I did everything you said and thanks it worked perfectly. I was having the same problem as you and getting equally annoyed :p

  • works for me, thanks

  • Richard Cook

    I had this problem too and just used the script provided and it worked great. I would say DO NOT do
    $ sudo chmod 777 /

    That is a huge security hole…just follow the above instructions. 🙂

  • Your best bet is probably to do

    sudo installer -target / -pkg /path/to/fink.pkg

    That way you don’t need to monkey with the permissions on / or skip any other VolumeCheck checks.

  • thanks a lot, i had the same problem, i used your VolumeCheck script, worked great.

  • zx81

    an administrator user on osx should be a member of the admin group
    so you don’t have to go as far as

    $ sudo chmod 777 /


    $ sudo chmod 775 /

    should be enough anyway

  • I used this guide to install fink to my friend’s mac mini. It worked perfectly. thanks

  • I had this problem. Following your outline I put:

    exit 0

    at the top of VOlumeCheck and all was well.
    – Cameron

  • Sam

    Hey, worked fine with your volume check script. Was getting weird errors just like yourself about TCL and all that, any idea why that comes up though? Have been trying to install qtstalker from the past 3-4 days now..have uninstalled Macports, fink, reinstalled ..trying again and again until I succeed!

  • Frank Sainsbury

    only took half a day to find the answer here , whew!!!

  • FedericoMasini

    I did as you suggested. Thanks, it worked beatifully!

  • Tom Francais

    I solved my problem in a slightly different way:

    sudo chgrp admin /

    My disk’s ownership was root:wheel, but my admin user was not in the wheel group. I can’t remember the last time (if ever) I saw Mac OS X admin users in the wheel group, so I thought changing the drive’s group ownership to admin was better than adding my admin user to the wheel group.

  • You *are* the man. The altered volumecheck worked perfectly!! -D

  • Marco

    Joe Block:

    Your method works perfectly! Just to launch the installer on root privilege, brilliant!

  • Niobos

    Just fyi: the default is 1775:
    sudo chmod 1775 /