polkit stops access to USB drives

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polkit stops access to USB drives

Karl Auer
The following describes a situation that happens, but seems to go away
when my system is power cycled (gracefully of course). Obviously I
would prefer not to have to reboot everything if there is a better way
to recover. Even better would be to find out how to avoid this!

So not a big problem, but a significant irritant.

Out of the blue, after working fine for hours or days and plugging and
unplugging USB drives without any issues, I get this error when I
connect a USB drive:

<some message>

Not authorized to perform operation (polkit authority not available and
caller is not uid 0) (udisks-error-quark, 3)

Once this happens, I cannot (as me, ordinary user) in any way access a
USB drive. The error is always as above, but "<some message>" changes -
"Unable to delete partition", "Unable to access <volume>", "Unable to
eject <volume>" or whatever it may be.

syslog shows that the drive was detected as a USB device, but was not
able to be mounted (although Nautilus shows it as mounted) and there is
no ephemeral entry in /media/kauer as there normally would be:

Oct  3 14:10:23 kt1 kernel: [241700.465731] sd 6:0:0:0: [sdb] Attached SCSI removable disk
Oct  3 14:10:24 kt1 gnome-shell[2866]: Unable to mount volume ABC_USB_C2: Gio.IO ErrorEnum: Not authorized to perform operation (polkit authority not available and caller is not uid 0

I *can* mount USB drives manually as root:

kauer@kt1:~$ sudo mount /dev/sdb1 /mnt/misc
kauer@kt1:~$ ls /mnt/misc
 AUTOEXEC.BAT   DISPLAY.SYS    LABEL.EXE        rufus.ini
[..etc..]

But then I can only access them as root, of course:

kauer@kt1:~$ cd /mnt/misc
kauer@kt1:/mnt/misc$ touch blah
touch: cannot touch 'blah': Permission denied

pkaction shows this:

kauer@kt1:~$ pkaction | grep mount
org.freedesktop.udisks2.filesystem-mount
org.freedesktop.udisks2.filesystem-mount-other-seat
org.freedesktop.udisks2.filesystem-mount-system
org.freedesktop.udisks2.filesystem-unmount-others

... and that list and the contents of those stanzas (as given by
pkaction --verbose) is the same as on another Ubuntu 20.04 system.

polkit is running:

kauer@kt1:~$ sudo systemctl status polkit.service
[sudo] password for kauer:
‚óŹ polkit.service - Authorization Manager
     Loaded: loaded (/lib/systemd/system/polkit.service; static; vendor preset: enabled)
     Active: active (running) since Mon 2020-09-28 23:11:00 AEST; 4 days ago

Anyone have a clue as to what is changing on my running system?

There are a few things I have not yet tried, but will try the next time
this happens, such as restarting the polkit service or seeing if a
reboot or logout is enough to recover things rather than a full power
cycle.

Regards, K.

--
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Karl Auer ([hidden email])
http://www.biplane.com.au/kauer

GPG fingerprint: 2561 E9EC D868 E73C 8AF1 49CF EE50 4B1D CCA1 5170
Old fingerprint: 8D08 9CAA 649A AFEF E862 062A 2E97 42D4 A2A0 616D




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Re: polkit stops access to USB drives

Little Girl
Hey there,

Karl Auer wrote:

>Anyone have a clue as to what is changing on my running system?

Is this of any use? It seems to be the same issue:

https://askubuntu.com/questions/1174742/not-authorized-to-perform-operation-polkit-authority-not-available

This one may be of less use, but may still give you some things to
try. The error is different, though, but could be related and may
share some solutions:

https://askubuntu.com/questions/120147/cant-mount-usb-not-authorized

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Little Girl

There is no spoon.

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