Subject: Re: Weird xauth problem
To: None <>
From: Steven M. Bellovin <>
List: tech-x11
Date: 10/13/2004 12:09:37
In message <>, Thor Lancelot Simon writes:
>On Wed, Oct 13, 2004 at 02:58:56PM +0100, Gavan Fantom wrote:
>> On Wed, 13 Oct 2004, Thor Lancelot Simon wrote:
>> >I have no idea what's going on here.  Can anyone explain it?  It would
>> >be nice to be able to run a web browser!
>> You don't run vnc or anything else that could write to .Xauthority, do 
>> you?
>No!  A totally plain-vanilla X installation so bare and old-school
>that generally I only have twm and a window manager running, in fact.
>Rebooting the machine seemed to fix the problem, but it's been
>reported by others, and I think we should figure out its root cause
>if we can.
>Restarting the X server did *not* fix the problem, because the X server,
>in fact, would not restart!  I killed and restarted xdm, in fact, and it
>was unable to restart the X server until I rebooted the machine.
>Something must be messed up with X authorization somehow such that some
>kind of _global_ state can end up so wrong that either of these symptoms
>could happen.  I just can't think what that state could be.

Is there anything setuid being invoked?  I find that I have to set 
XAUTHORITY explicitly do do things like installing netscape7 from 

		--Steve Bellovin,