IntelliJ needs to copy tomcat/conf directory to project directory

Try chmod -R 777 /var/lib/tomcat7/conf/, it works to me.

Make sure that files under /var/lib/tomcat7/conf/ directory have read permission for the user IntelliJ IDEA is running from.

chmod -R 644 /var/lib/tomcat7/conf/

should help.

Also check that /home/adonis/.IntelliJIdea12/system/tomcat/ has correct permissions and owner. Could be that it was created from a different user and your current user doesn't have the rights to write into it.

If it doesn't help, download and unpack a new Tomcat installation from .tar.gz file, configure IDEA to use this installation instead.

Note that Tomcat installed using the package manager on some Linux systems has non-standard layout and permissions, and therefore will not work with IDEA.

I had the same problem and these steps helped me to Start my tomcat7 from Intellij :

I have Linux Mint 17,and Tomcat 7 which is installed using apt-get

CATALINA_HOME in /usr/share/tomcat7 and CATALINA_BASE in /var/lib/tomcat7

1- First I created a soft link which references /etc/tomcat7

cd /usr/share/tomcat7
ln -s /etc/tomcat7 conf

2- Then you have to change the access permissions of /etc/tomcat7

sudo chmod -R 655 /etc/tomcat7/

That's it.