Bug 5001 - Authentication failed - cannot start X server
Summary: Authentication failed - cannot start X server
Alias: None
Product: Red Hat Linux
Classification: Retired
Component: XFree86
Version: 5.2
Hardware: i386
OS: Linux
Target Milestone: ---
Assignee: David Lawrence
QA Contact:
: 5016 5076 (view as bug list)
Depends On:
TreeView+ depends on / blocked
Reported: 1999-09-08 22:13 UTC by blavier
Modified: 2008-05-01 15:37 UTC (History)
4 users (show)

Fixed In Version:
Doc Type: Bug Fix
Doc Text:
Clone Of:
Last Closed: 1999-09-24 19:39:28 UTC

Attachments (Terms of Use)

Description blavier 1999-09-08 22:13:43 UTC
After upgrade to XFree86-3.3.5, startx fails with:
  Authentication failed - cannot start X server
  Perhaps you do not have console ownership?

Problem is inside Xwrapper, as the server starts OK if
invoked directly (after adding the SETUID bit).

Comment 1 blavier 1999-09-09 16:07:59 UTC
This bug (#5001) is probably the same as #5016.  I have checked my
/var/log/messages and I also get: "pam[..]: unable to
dlopen(/lib/security/pam_console.so)".  In addition, several
people have reported this same problem on the Red Hat newsgroup.
So this must be a general 5.2 plus XFree86-3.3.5 problem.

Comment 2 blavier 1999-09-20 23:15:59 UTC
This bug is fixed with XFree86-3.3.5-1.5.x.

Comment 3 Preston Brown 1999-09-24 19:41:59 UTC
*** Bug 5016 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***

The version of /etc/pam.d/xserver installed by
XFree86-3.3.5-0.5.2 contains the line

auth       required     /lib/security/pam_console.so

even though the latest release of pam for 5.2 (0.64-4)
provides no such file.

Comment 4 Preston Brown 1999-09-24 19:58:59 UTC
*** Bug 5076 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***

On Sat, 11 Sep 1999, Jon Lewis wrote:

> I broke one of my 5.2 systems at home today to debug
this.  What I found
> is that pam support seems to have been added into
Xwrapper, and that it
> comes with an /etc/pam.d/xserver file that by default only
allows root to
> start X...and AFAICT, no instructions for changing that
behavior.  I
> messed around with /etc/pam.d/xserver and got it to allow
anyone to start
> X, but I'm not happy with the way I did it.  I don't feel
like tracking
> down the pam docs (/usr/doc/pam-0.64/ is awfully barren)
right now, so
> I'll probably look at this more tonight.

Looked at this a little more, and now I think it's
definitely a bug.  When Red Hat released XFree86-3.3.5 for
5.2 and 6.0, they included (in both
releases) pam support in Xwrapper that's been standard on
6.0 but was new to 5.2.  6.0 does come with some
documentation on console.apps and pam_console.so in
However, 5.2 knows nothing of this.  5.2 (and pam-0.64-4
which is the latest pam update for 5.2) don't have
/lib/security/pam_console.so, so the /etc/pam.d/xserver file
that comes in XFree86-3.3.5-0.5.2.i386.rpm is

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