tutorial problems when installing on OS X 10.5 ...

When I install Scrivener on a machine with OS X 10.5 the tutorial will not work unless I am an admin or the user who, after authenticating, copied Scrivener.app into the system Applications folder. This doesn’t seem to be a problem with OS X 10.4. This makes sense based on the permissions that 10.5 assigns to Scrivener.app but is a problem for other users. I don’t allow my users to log in as an admin. Even on a machine that only I use I have two accounts: an admin account and my account.

When I try to open the tutorial (as a different user) I am told that I don’t have write permission in the install directory (true) and asked if I want to choose another location. The dialog that opens is set to my Documents folder but when that is selected the following error message is presented, “File could not be written. There was a problem writing the file to disk.”

I also have a quibble with the first error message which says that “it may be that you are running Scrivener from a directory to which you do not have write permissions […] it is recommended that you drag Scrivener into your Applications folder and run Scrivener from there.” A non-admin user shouldn’t have write permissions in the Applications folder so this seems a bit muddled.

I see that the tuturial is in Scrivener.app/Resources/Tutorial.scriv. Shouldn’t I need only read permissions to copy this to my home or /tmp. Why is write permission even checked?

The tutorial is a Scrivener project and Scrivener does not support read-only projects at this time, which is why the permissions are required.

If you launch the tutorial and you do not have the correct permissions, it should offer to save the tutorial elsewhere, thus circumnavigating these problems. Is this not happening for you? If not, what version are you using?

Also, you seem to setting Scrivener up for multiple users - what is your set up? Is this for a business or academic institution? (Bear in mind that a single “household” licence only covers you and your family living with you; perhaps I misunderstand what you are trying to do.)

Thanks and all the best,

At the moment we are evaluating scrivener. My wife and I are trying it out at home. I intend to install it on only one machine and use it for two users, at home. The computer really has three accounts an admin account, and two non-admin users who would be using the software. The software itself seems to work fine.

So to clarify. On OS X 10.5 the tutorial doesn’t open for non-admin users unless it is the user who, after authenticating with an admin user name and password, copied Scrivener to the Applications folder. It looks like the permissions model is different in OS 10.5. Additional security features have been added.

Finally, we are offered the oppotunity to save the tutorial to another location and the default location offered in the dialog box that opens is ~/Documents. The error that I mentioned above is the result even when I select a location that I own.

One more thing. Why does it have to be a read only project? Just copy Tutorial.scriv to /tmp (or equivalent) and open it for the user as if they owned it. If they mess it up they can restart it.

Sorry, I’m still a little confused. Are you saying that even when you save to a new location after being told that you need to save it elsewhere because of permissions issues, you cannot open the tutorial?

That is exactly correct.

First I am told I don’t have write permissions for the Scrivener.app in the /Applications folder (again, why would I need them?). I am then offered a chance to choose a location to save the tutorial. I choose the ~/Documents folder (the default option when the dialog opens). An error message appears: “File could not be written. There was a problem writing the file to disk.” I don’t know how or why this could happen.

Everything works as expected if I am 1) the admin user or 2) the user who copied Scrivener.app to the /Applications folder (and was therefore forced to authenticate as an admin). In these case the tutorial simply opens properly using whatever magic you’ve coded to read it out of the .app.

I don’t use my mac as the admin user. I always set up a separate account for admin tasks. My wife and I both use non-admin accounts for our daily computing.

This looks like something related to a new permissions model in OS X 10.5 (is there one? It looks like it to me). I am certainly not an expert in the permissions model in OS X but I can say that cmd-i on Scrivener.app in 10.4 versus 10.5 shows that something has changed. 10.5 seems to include the ability have multiple owners, each with different read-write status, on a file or folder.

Anyway, I have managed to make myself and my lovely wife happy with the tutorial. We are happily evaluating.

Hi Ernest,

In the next update (version 1.12, the beta of which can be downloaded from the Beta Testing forum), you are prompted to save the tutorial somewhere regardless of permissions. However, that doesn’t sound as though it will help with the “File not written” message. That message is admittedly not very helpful, but that’s only because I have no idea why it wouldn’t be written, either. Basically, all that happens is that Scrivener uses the OS’s built in “copyPath” method to copy the tutorial out of Scrivener to the location you set. You get that message if this copy operation fails. So I can’t think of any reasons it would fail unless you are out of disk space or there is a problem for you writing to that location in general. Strange.

Anyway, I’m glad you’ve at least got things up and running for now.


I just had this same problem today with 10.6.2. Setup is similar–I installed Scrivener under my admin account, but registered it under my user account.

Copying Tutorial.scriv from the application package wouldn’t work because it said the project was unwritable. I changed all the permissions I could find under Sharing and Permissions to “Read & Write,” but to no avail.

Finally, I went in as admin and added every user I was able, including my user account and my admin account, to the Sharing and Permissions list (giving them all “Read & Write” privileges). Then I copied the now-unlocked Tutorial.scriv to my user documents folder. Problem solved.


Yes, this is a known problem with trying to open the tutorial on user accounts unfortunately. It’s on my list of problems to fix for 2.0 - it’s trickier to solve than I thought it would be, as permissions on OS X get quite thorny. Glad you got it working for now, though.

Getting the tutorial right has been problematic, in fact. At one time it was stored separately on the DMG file so that users could drag it to the folder they wanted to run it from. But many users just tried opening it directly from the DMG (because let’s face it, no one reads the readme file) and Scrivener won’t open read-only files. So then I moved it into the program itself and had Scrivener open it from inside its own project package. But some users didn’t install Scrivener properly, leaving it on the DMG and placing the DMG in their Applications folder instead of Scrivener itself, so they still couldn’t open the tutorial. And others who had installed it properly didn’t realise they were supposed to create their own projects for their writing and ended up writing novels in side the tutorial project, but then when they updated Scrivener to a newer version they found their project wiped - because with the tutorial being opened from inside Scrivener, when Scrivener was replaced so was the tutorial project. So finally I made it so that users had to make a copy of the tutorial to the local disk in order to open it, which should have solved all of these problems… Except for some reason there is a permissions problem.

Hmm, actually, I wonder what would happen if I zipped up the tutorial and unzipped it rather than trying to copy it. That might work… Something to try!

Thanks and all the best,

To explain: I am the only person who uses my MacBook and I have created an Administrator account STRICTLY to do the installations and maintenance on it, for everything else I have a restricted user account. This lessens the possibility that any malware could install itself. I am testing Scrivener on OS 10.5.8 and want to run the Tutorial from the USER account but am running across this error. I tried signing on as my ADMIN and setting the permissions on /Documents/Tutorial.scriv and then copying the file to a USB drive and from there to /Documents/Tutorial.scriv on the USER account, all that happened was that Scrivener asked for permission to replace the file before it gave the error message.


There is definitely a permissions problem when it comes to saving the tutorial from a non-admin account, and it’s on my list for fixing - I’m not entirely sure why it’s happening at the moment. The workaround is to ctrl-click on Scrivener.app in the Finder and choose “Show Package Contents”, then drill down into the Resources folder and copy Tutorial.scriv out of there to a location on disk, then apply the necessary permissions.

That’s certainly not how it’s supposed to be, of course, but it should at least get you up and running until I can look into the issue in more depth.

Thanks and all the best,