bugPSPP - Bugs: bug #58128, MacOS (Catalina): Error opening...


bug #58128: MacOS (Catalina): Error opening directory: Operation not permitted

Submitted by:  Conner Gieg <connergieg>
Submitted on:  Mon 06 Apr 2020 06:39:48 PM UTC  
Category:  Compilation/Portability Severity:  5 - Average
Status:  Fixed Assigned to:  None
Open/Closed:  Closed Release:  None
Effort:  0.00

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Tue 02 Jun 2020 06:12:26 PM UTC, comment #7: 

Can confirm importing is working on the 'test bundle', just worked with some CSVs on macOS Catalina 10.15.4. Will provide feedback in the coming days on stability of other features.

Many thanks.

David M. <matthjs>
Wed 06 May 2020 04:17:13 AM UTC, comment #6: 

Hi Laura,
could you provide a file that shows the problem?

Friedrich Beckmann <beckmanf>
Project Member
Tue 05 May 2020 09:14:57 PM UTC, comment #5: 

The test bundle indeed allows access to directory, but when I apply to import an odd file (after seeing the correct preview), it shows a blank grid.

Laura Libellule <lauralibellule>
Wed 15 Apr 2020 07:21:00 PM UTC, comment #4: 

Thomas Hargrove tested the version with the fix on MacOS Catalina. Thanks for the test!


It seems to work.

Friedrich Beckmann <beckmanf>
Project Member
Tue 14 Apr 2020 04:01:38 PM UTC, comment #3: 

I have a test bundle ready for test on Catalina:


Maybe somebody with Catalina can test this. I tried to fix this with


Friedrich Beckmann <beckmanf>
Project Member
Fri 10 Apr 2020 09:06:13 AM UTC, comment #2: 

Hi John, this bug is MacOS specific and is related to the new security measures in MacOS Catalina and I think also the previous MacOS version. I work with MacOS 10.13.6 (High Sierra) where this is not visible. But I have reproduced it in a virtual machine. A workaround and the root cause is described in the mailing list:


As far as I can say this is only related to the MacOS bundle that I provide. The root problem is that pspp is called via a shell script inside the bundle. MacOS does not forward the permissions to the binary that is called from the script. I think it is not related to the MacPorts version where you compile everything on your system. GIMP and Inkscape have the same problem. See


I contacted the developer who has fixed that and the answer is


So the way to solve this is to call the binary directly. However there are some environment variables which need to be set like

export XDG_CONFIG_DIRS="$bundle_etc"/xdg
export XDG_DATA_DIRS="$bundle_data"
export GTK_DATA_PREFIX="$bundle_res"
export GTK_EXE_PREFIX="$bundle_res"
export GTK_PATH="$bundle_res"

for the bundle because all the XDG and GTK files are inside the bundle and not in a place which is known at compile time or in a default location.

The GIMP approach to that is to move the setting of environment variables to the main binary. The patch for gimp is here:


I only did not make the patch until now because of a lack of time (See: https://searchwing.org)

Friedrich Beckmann <beckmanf>
Project Member
Fri 10 Apr 2020 08:28:16 AM UTC, comment #1: 

This symptom has been reported by several users all of which are using "MacOS Cataline".    It hasn't been reported on other OSes so it seems to be MacOS specific. 

We need a Mac expert to give us detailed information about how and when it happens.

John Darrington <jmd>
Project Administrator
Mon 06 Apr 2020 06:39:48 PM UTC, original submission:  

I keep getting "Error opening directory: Operation not permitted" when I try to open a file with PSPPP.  I'm using MacOS Cataline 10.15.4

Conner Gieg <connergieg>


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    Follow 7 latest changes.

    Date Changed by Updated Field Previous Value => Replaced by
    2020-04-15 beckmanf StatusReady for Test/Review => Fixed
        Open/ClosedOpen => Closed
    2020-04-14 beckmanf StatusConfirmed => Ready for Test/Review
        SummaryError opening directory: Operation not permitted => MacOS (Catalina): Error opening directory: Operation not permitted
    2020-04-10 beckmanf StatusNeed Info => Confirmed
    2020-04-10 jmd CategorySystem/Portable File I/O => Compilation/Portability
        StatusNone => Need Info

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