update - uninstall homebrew




Brew update failed: untracked working tree files would be overwritten by merge (8)

This post helped me after updating to El Capitan. In my case, chown wasn't working ("zsh: command not found: chown"), so step 1 was adding this line to my .zshrc:

export PATH="$PATH:/usr/sbin"

I'd already tried several of the more popular answers above, so I'm pretty sure that git status was coming up clean by the time I pasted in the critical command from the blog post:

sudo chown $(whoami):admin /usr/local && sudo chown -R $(whoami):admin /usr/local

Trying to update Homebrew with brew update I got the following error

error: The following untracked working tree files would be overwrittenby merge:     
 Library/Formula/argp-standalone.rb
 Library/Formula/cocot.rb 
Please move or remove them before you can merge. 
Aborting 
Updating e088818..5909e2c 
Error: Failed while executing git pull  origin refs/heads/master:refs/remotes/origin/master

I found a blog post by someone who experienced a similar problem after having installed Mountain Lion (which I did this week too). He explains how he removed the files referred to in the error message

I removed these files:
$ cd $(brew --prefix)
$ rm cocot.rb
However, removing these files didn't help with the brew update. Instead I had to manually update brew through git:
$ cd $(brew --prefix)
$ git fetch origin
$ git reset --hard origin/master
$ brew update
Already up-to-date.

Assuming those instructions are correct (which I maybe shouldn't assume), I tried to follow these instructions and do

    $ cd $(brew --prefix)
    $ rm cocot.rb

However, it said 'file doesn't exist' when I tried to rm cocot.rb

One thing I'm not sure about is the cd $(brew --prefix) Are those the exact words I type or do I have to replace prefix with something? the cd was successful, so I'm assuming it was correct -- it moved me into /usr/local, but there was no file to remove. Contents of /usr/local are

Cellar              clamXav             git             mysql               var Library             doc             heroku              mysql-5.5.15-osx10.6-x86_64 README.md           etc             include             rvm bin             foreman             lib             share

At any rate, do you know how I can fix the 'brew update'

Update: After removing the files according to favoretti's instructions and trying chown -R <your_username> $(brew --prefix)/.git, I got the following error running brew update

error: The following untracked working tree files would be overwritten by merge:
    Library/Aliases/gperftools
    Library/Aliases/hashdeep
    Library/Aliases/htop
    Library/Aliases/nodejs
    Library/Aliases/ocio
    Library/Aliases/oiio
    Library/Aliases/pgrep
    Library/Aliases/pkill
    Library/Aliases/qt4
    Library/Aliases/twolame
    Library/Aliases/wxwidgets
    Library/Contributions/cmds/brew-aspell-dictionaries
    Library/Contributions/cmds/brew-beer.rb
    Library/Contributions/cmds/brew-dirty.rb
    Library/Contributions/cmds/brew-graph
    Library/Contributions/cmds/brew-grep
    Library/Contributions/cmds/brew-leaves.rb
    Library/Contributions/cmds/brew-linkapps.rb
    Library/Contributions/cmds/brew-ls-taps.rb
    Library/Contributions/cmds/brew-man
    Library/Contributions/cmds/brew-md5-to-sha1
    Library/Contributions/cmds/brew-mirror-check.rb
    Library/Contributions/cmds/brew-pull.rb
    Library/Contributions/cmds/brew-readall.rb
    Library/Contributions/cmds/brew-server
    Library/Contributions/cmds/brew-services.rb
    Library/Contributions/cmds/brew-switch.rb
    Library/Contributions/cmds/brew-test-bot.rb
    Library/Contributions/cmds/brew-tests.rb
    Library/Contributions/cmds/brew-unpack.rb
    Library/Contributions/cmds/brew-which.rb
    Library/Contributions/cmds/git
    Library/Contributions/cmds/svn
    Library/ENV/4.3/apr-1-config
    Library/ENV/4.3/bsdmake
    Library/ENV/4.3/c++
    Library/ENV/4.3/c89
    Library/ENV/4.3/c99
    Library/ENV/4.3/cc
    Library/ENV/4.3/clang
    Library/ENV/4.3/clang++
    Library/ENV/4.3/cpp
    Library/ENV/4.3/g++
    Library/ENV/4.3/gcc
    Library/ENV/4.3/git
    Library/ENV/4.3/i686-apple-darwin11-llvm-g++-4.2
    Library/ENV/4.3/i686-apple-darwin11-llvm-gcc-4.2
    Library/ENV/4.3/ld
    Library/ENV/4.3/llvm-g++
    Library/ENV/4.3/llvm-g++-4.2
    Library/ENV/4.3/llvm-gcc
    Library/ENV/4.3/llvm-gcc-4.2
    Library/ENV/4.3/make
    Library/ENV/4.3/mig
    Library/ENV/4.3/sed
    Library/ENV/4.3/svn
    Library/ENV/4.3/xcrun
    Library/ENV/libsuperenv.rb
    Library/ENV/pkgconfig/leopard/libcrypto.pc
    Library/ENV/pkgconfig/leopard/libcurl.pc
    Library/ENV/pkgconfig/mountain_lion/libcurl.pc
    Library/ENV/pkgconfig/mountain_lion/libexslt.pc
    Library/ENV/pkgconfig/mountain_lion/libxml-2.0.pc
    Library/ENV/pkgconfig/mountain_lion/libxslt.pc
    Library/Formula/abcl.rb
    Library/Formula/abcmidi.rb
    Library/Formula/aiccu.rb
    Library/Formula/akka.rb
    Library/Formula/alac.rb
    Library/Formula/alure.rb
    Library/Formula/appledoc.rb
    Library/Formula/arangodb.rb
    Library/Formula/argp-standalone.rb
    Library/Formula/argtable.rb
    Library/Formula/autopano-sift-c.rb
    Library/Formula/avian.rb
    Library/Formula/avidemux.rb
    Library/Formula/avro-cpp.rb
    Library/Formula/aws-cloudsearch.rb
    Library/Formula/aws-sns-cli.rb
    Library/Formula/backupninja.rb
    Library/Formula/bact.rb
    Library/Formula/bam.rb
    Library/Formula/basex.rb
    Library/Formula/berkeley-db4.rb
    Library/Formula/bind.rb
    Library/Formula/blazeblogger.rb
    Library/Formula/bochs.rb
    Library/Formula/boost149.rb
    Library/Formula/bsdconv.rb
    Library/Formula/bsdmake.rb
    Library/Formula/buildapp.rb
    Library/Formula/bup.rb
    Library/Formula/byacc.rb
    Library/Formula/cadubi.rb
    Library/Formula/camellia.rb
    Library/Formula/casperjs.rb
    Library/Formula/ccextractor.rb
    Library/Formula/cconv.rb
    Library/Formula/cdo.rb
    Library/Formula/cdpr.rb
    Library/Formula/cgvg.rb
    Library/Formula/checkstyle.rb
    Library/Formula/chordii.rb
    Library/Formula/chruby.rb
    Library/Formula/cifer.rb
    Library/Formula/clhep.rb
    Library/Formula/cntlm.rb
    Library/Formula/cocot.rb
    Library/Formula/cogl.rb
    Library/Formula/collada-dom.rb
    Library/Formula/crash.rb
    Library/Formula/crossroads.rb
    Library/Formula/crosstool-ng.rb
    Library/Formula/css-crush.rb
    Library/Formula/csync.rb
    Library/Formula/ctemplate.rb
    Library/Formula/curlftpfs.rb
    Library/Formula/cutter.rb
    Library/Formula/cvsutils.rb
    Library/Formula/darkstat.rb
    Library/Formula/darner.rb
    Library/Formula/dart.rb
    Library/Formula/dasm.rb
    Library/Formula/debianutils.rb
    Library/Formula/dfc.rb
    Library/Formula/dgtal.rb
    Library/Formula/dhcping.rb
    Library/Formula/di.rb
    Library/Formula/dmtx-utils.rb
    Library/Formula/drip.rb
    Library/Formula/dsniff.rb
    Library/Fo
Aborting
Updating e088818..c1fbc29
Error: Failed while executing git pull  origin refs/heads/master:refs/remotes/origin/master

Another option is to just use git stash.

The brew update command performs a git pull, so if there are any changed files (or even file attributes, which happened to me when I changed permissions in the directory recursively) you have to somehow fix the conflicts. Using git stash is one way; it takes any changes and puts them aside so you effectively revert to the last updated repo version. The Homebrew 'location' is by default /usr/local and it installs as a git repository. You can look for a .git folder to see for yourself. I'm writing a homebrew uninstall script to be posted on my GitHub profile soon with more info.


I was able to fix this on my machine by adding admin group write (and setgid bit) permission at these paths:

sudo chmod -R g+ws /usr/local /Library/Caches/Homebrew

The s sets the group id on execution so that the write permissions aren't lost the next time a different admin user updates or upgrades Homebrew.

This answer is somewhat incomplete because when I try to do brew cleanup --force there is a permissions issue when Homebrew tries to remove content in /usr/local/Cellar/. (Unfortunately I'm not able to investigate this further at the moment.)


Resetting the brew repository should be the most efficient way if you don't mind to discard potential modifications on formulas you might have been applied:

$ cd `brew --prefix`
$ git fetch origin
$ git reset --hard origin/master
$ brew cleanup --force
$ brew update

This is caused by an old bug in the update code that has long since been fixed. However, the nature of the bug requires that you do the following:

cd $(brew --repository)
git reset --hard FETCH_HEAD

If brew doctor still complains about uncommitted modifications, also run this command:

cd $(brew --repository)    
git clean -fd

This should work.

1. cd `brew --prefix`
2. git fetch origin
3. git reset --hard origin/master
4. sudo brew update

$ cd $(brew --prefix)
$ git clean -fd
$ git reset --hard
$ sudo chown -R `whoami` `brew --prefix`
$ brew update

Note: steps 2&3 worked for me since I did step 5 before 4 before I got the error. The brew update before changing the owner of the folder caused the whole problem.


cd $(brew --prefix)
git reset --hard HEAD
brew update




homebrew