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i add the user mysql to the www-data in /etc/group, is it really necessary to reboot to take effect?

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Any existing processes belonging to the mysql user may not recognize the group addition, and will need to be restarted.

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Oh, sorry for excluding that I'm restarting mysql - no effect. – user65297 Mar 31 '11 at 22:03
@user65297 are you stopping it completely or using service restart (which might just SIGHUP the process to make it pretend like you restarted it)? If you've stopped it completely and started it again, then I'd say that your server is in the www-data group and something else (SELinux) is keeping it from doing whatever it is you're trying to get it to do. – DerfK Mar 31 '11 at 22:25
What operation by the mysql user is failing? – justarobert Mar 31 '11 at 22:34

Shouldn't do. How are you adding it - using usermod or editing the /etc/group file directly? usermod is the proper way to do this - I think editing the group file might lead to randomness.

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trying out usermod -G www-data mysql gives expected result in /etc/group. Still no grant though.. – user65297 Mar 31 '11 at 21:52

What do you see if you do 'sudo -i -u mysql' (to get a login shell) and then issue 'groups'?

I echo justarobert, though: what is failing? Telling us that is more likely to get you to a solution.

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