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# find / -user root -perm -4000 -print
find: /proc/21944/task/21944/fd/4: No such file or directory
find: /proc/21944/fd/4: No such file or directory
/sbin/unix_chkpwd
/sbin/pam_timestamp_check
/bin/ping
/bin/ping6
/bin/su
/bin/mount
/bin/umount
/lib/dbus-1/dbus-daemon-launch-helper
/usr/sbin/usernetctl
/usr/sbin/suexec
/usr/sbin/userhelper
/usr/libexec/openssh/ssh-keysign
/usr/bin/sudo
/usr/bin/newgrp
/usr/bin/chsh
/usr/bin/passwd
/usr/bin/crontab
/usr/bin/chage
/usr/bin/sudoedit
/usr/bin/chfn
/usr/bin/gpasswd
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Yes. What of it? –  Ignacio Vazquez-Abrams Jan 20 '11 at 0:35
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2 Answers

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Yes, that's completely normal. The /proc virtual filesystem provides an interface to the process and memory information on a system. This allows tools like top(1) to use normal filesystem calls to examine processes and memory instead of doing non-portable mucking about in the system memory. Information in this filesystem changes constantly as the state of the system changes. In your example, file descriptor 4 for process 21944 was closed after the find command found it in the directory but before it could read it.

Since /proc is not a real filesystem, you usually want to avoid it in any traversals of your filesystem. Here's some more info on using /proc in linux.

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You can use something like find / -path /proc -prune -or -user root -perm -4000 -print. –  jon Jan 20 '11 at 1:52
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If you're concerned about the "No such file or directory" messages, in this case it means that those file descriptors for those processes were closed during the operation of the find command or the processes exited (which also means the file descriptors were closed). You can also get that message for broken symlinks.

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