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Authentication failed - cannot start X server

Posted on 2000-04-15
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Last Modified: 2013-11-13
I tried to use the very new XFRee86-4.0 server, but ran into problems with .rpm dependencies.  I eventually gave up and tried to get my system back to its previous state.  To my chagrin, it now can no longer run X.  I'm using the same XF86Config file as before (I backed it up), and root seems to be able to run X, but when users try, they get

prompt> startx
Authentication failed - cannot start X server
Perhaps you do not have console ownership?

How can I fix this?

-Jim
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Question by:truittj
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8 Comments
 

Expert Comment

by:x25
ID: 2720455
try setuid root for /usr/X11R6/bin/X

X.25
vicer1@yahoo.com
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LVL 3

Expert Comment

by:DVB
ID: 2727060
Aha, I have the same problem here. Caused by Star Office. I am going to try to uninstall the Xserver and reinstall it, but not any time soon. Temp workaround is to use kdm :(
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Expert Comment

by:DVB
ID: 2727070
And suid root *is* dangerous!
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Author Comment

by:truittj
ID: 2727681
Well, my suspicions are that the TakeConsole and GiveConsole scripts aren't doing exactly what they're supposed to, or that they're no longer being called.  Unfortunately, I needed the machine up and running a little too quickly, so I ended up re-installing XFree86.

What I would really like to see is a reference to an explanation/mapping out of what happens when a user types startx -- I started working my way through the scripts and links, and was quickly overwhelmed.

Thanks,

-Jim
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LVL 2

Expert Comment

by:mzehner
ID: 2749879
I've done some research in this area, but only have a few paragraphs you may be interested in.  I will copy them in my comment below.  They are in HTML and I'm not sure they will copy correctly.
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Accepted Solution

by:
mzehner earned 75 total points
ID: 2749885
An X windows session is started by entering the command "startx". This script resides in "/usr/X11R6/bin". The script startx, provides a front end to the xinit program, also in /usr/X11R6/bin, that is used to provide a nicer interface for running a single X windows session. Startx typically runs without command line arguments, but command line arguments will override its normal behavier described below. It gets client arguments from.xinitrc in the user's home directory, if the file exists. If not it uses arguments from "/etc/X11/xinit/xinitrc. If that file does not exist, it uses the file /usr/X11R6/lib/X11/xinit/xinitrc by default. It gets server arguments from .xserverrc in the user's home directory if it exists. If not, it uses arguments from "/etc/X11/xinit/xserverrc". The script startx passes client arguments, display arguments, and server arguments to the program xinit which resides in "/usr/X11R6/bin".

The program xinit will run the client script program passed to it. If no "xinitrc" program is passed or exists, it will run "xterm –geometry +1+1 login –display :0" as a default. If no specific server program is given, xinit will use "X :0" as a default. This means that the default server program is called X and the default client program is xterm. It is assumed, that there is a program named X in the searchpath, normally in "/usr/X11R6/bin". This may be a softlink to another program. In my case it is a link to Xwrapper in the same directory. This program has no documentation. However under "/etc/X11" is a program also called X which points to /usr/X11R6/bin/XF86_SVGA which I would expect to be used as a server program.

This is how it works in Redhat6.x.  I don't know your version of Linux.  I still have more to do in this area, but I hope this gives you somewhat of a start.
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Expert Comment

by:mzehner
ID: 2749894
Also go to http://www.xfree86.org/FAQ/#Xwrapper and read the information on the program called Xwrapper which explains about how the Xwrapper program is used to allow the X server to access video hardware which requires root priviledges.  I think this is related to the problem you had.
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Author Comment

by:truittj
ID: 2751510
Thanks much, that'll be a useful start when I go back to sort things out.

-Jim
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