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I am trying to fix some brew doctor error but now after manually erased some files that brew doctor suggested I get the following error when trying to do a brew update :

error: cannot open .git/FETCH_HEAD: Permission denied

Error: Failed to update tap: homebrew/versions
Already up-to-date.
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  • use sudo for the update? – Brad Allred Sep 10 '14 at 16:26
  • 1
    What are the permissions on /usr/local/.git? Sounds like you're perhaps sharing a machine and someone else updated homebrew and, in the course of doing that, took ownership of the /usr/local directory tree. – Ian C. Sep 10 '14 at 16:45
  • No the macbook pro is mine.I am not sharing with anybody else.The permissions of /usr/local/.git are Administrator staff – skiabox Sep 10 '14 at 17:47
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If you are using OSX High Sierra chown operation is not permitted in /usr/local/ in this case use:

sudo chown -R $(whoami) /usr/local/Homebrew/
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I managed to fix this error by fixing the user owner of the /usr/local folder from 504 to Administrator (the user id I am using when I log in to macbook pro terminal).

This was achieved by using this command :

sudo chown -R $USER:admin /usr/local
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  • I had to run sudo chown -R $(whoami):admin /usr/local on Catalina – Dusan Vasiljevic Jun 18 '20 at 14:16
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sudo chown -R $(whoami):admin /usr/local && sudo chmod -R g+rwx /usr/local
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