Posts filed under ‘googleearth’

Earth is missing after Google Earth Linux Installation

Recently, I helped out a friend with a Linux installation. One of the application installed was Google Earth. I followed Google’s instruction to run the bin file. After the installation, I was asked if I want to start Google Earth. I selected the option to start Google Earth and test it to make sure that it was working. However, when I launch Google Earth later, I notice that the entire Earth was missing. All I see is an empty star field. The earth was not displayed no matter which address I entered. Has Earth become a victim of mass alien abduction?

My first clue was that Google Earth worked when I tested it during installation. When you install an application, you have to run it as root. As a result, I run the installation using sudo. When I am prompted to start Google Earth during installation, I probably ran it as root. To test this theory, I ran google earth by typing “sudo googleearth”. Sure enough, ¬†Google Earth launched without a problem. Obviously, the issue is permission related.

One quick fix would be to edit the menu so that it launch google earth as “sudo googleearth”. This will work but is not a secured solution. There’s no reason to run google earth as root. In addition, your user may to have permission to sudo.

Poking around the home directory, I discovered that Google Earth installed .googleearth in the home directory. When I did a “ls -la”, I notice that the .googleearth is assigned to the owner of root and group of root. As a result, the user is unable to write to the .googleearth. To make things worse, this was probably installed when I answered yes to start Google Earth during installation. If I had not decided to start Google Earth during installation, I would not have encountered this problem.


  • When you install Google Earth, do not start Google Earth during installation. Exit the installer and run Google Earth under your own account.
  • If you failed to do this and now you have a .googleearth permissioned to root, go to your home directory and run “sudo rm -rf .googleearth”. Now run Google Earth again under your own account. Note that all settings will be lost.
  • Alternatively, you can use chown and chgrp to reassign the owner and group of .googleearth to yourself (make sure you use -R so that the permission change is made to the subdirectories).

August 16, 2008 at 9:15 pm 9 comments


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