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I'm having trouble running Wireshark on Mac OS X 10.7.1 Lion - The Install seems to proceed ok, but on running Wireshark I get a window warning me the app may take time to start the first time as the font caches are built, but then it quits.

I had a previous version installed, but I have cleaned out /Applications/Wireshark, /Library/StartupItems/ChmodBPF and /opt/local/bin/wireshark (remnant from a previous Macports install) - but there was no /Library/Wireshark.

Attempting a reinstallation has no effect, and while /Applications/Wireshark and /Library/StartupItems/ChmodBPF are created again, /Library/Wireshark is not. Behaviour on staring Wireshark is the same - notification message about font caches, and then quit. This happens on subsequent launches of Wireshark too.

Any ideas or advice?

asked 07 Oct '11, 05:52

James%20Dore's gravatar image

James Dore
accept rate: 0%

edited 07 Oct '11, 06:53

helloworld's gravatar image


Aha: proved instructive:

07/10/2011 12:20:15.112 [0x0-0x314314].org.wireshark.Wireshark: touch: /Users/james/.wireshark/.fccache-new: Permission denied

The directory (/User/james/.wireshark) was owned by root (probably from the MacPorts install), so I changed its ownership to james with this command:

sudo chown -R james /Users/james/.wireshark

It now starts and runs as normal.

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answered 07 Oct '11, 06:27

James%20Dore's gravatar image

James Dore
accept rate: 0%

edited 21 Jun '12, 21:40

helloworld's gravatar image


I dont understand this answer can someone else provide more info. what did the job?

(21 Jun '12, 19:21) sharkyf

I think this is a good explanation (someone feel free to correct me):

The user installed wireshark via MacPorts, which installs all files and directories* as root, and thus the files and directories are owned by root. One of the directories MacPorts creates during the installation is ~/.wireshark. When the user james tries to start Wireshark, it loads libfontconfig, which tries to create a new font cache at ~/.wireshark/.fccache-new, but the directory's permissions presumably allowed write-access only to the owner (root), preventing the user james from creating files there (thus the error: Permission denied).

To compensate, @James Dore changed the ownership of the directory ~/.wireshark/ to the user james so that Wireshark (running as james) could create the font cache as needed.

*Is it really all files? I think so.

(21 Jun '12, 21:19) helloworld
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question asked: 07 Oct '11, 05:52

question was seen: 7,940 times

last updated: 21 Jun '12, 21:40

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