XFCE starts as root w/o login screen

Mark Knecht markknecht at gmail.com
Thu Feb 4 02:06:34 CET 2010

On Wed, Feb 3, 2010 at 4:22 PM, Doug Laidlaw <laidlaws at hotkey.net.au> wrote:
> You are using a custom inittab which I can't imagine the OP being able to do,
> or to debug.   He is asking you to do it for him, but can't give you the data
> you need to start doing it. Personally, I can't use respawn.  I am an
> experienced novice only, and I don't touch anything so basic as inittab.
> But what you have quoted still doesn't create the user.  inittab runs mythtv
> as user mythtv, but that user must already exist on the system. .xinitrc
> starts your choice of desktop, but not the user, because it is in the $HOME of
> the user you have already selected (mythtv).  (I use startx only occasionally,
> either recovering from runlevel 3 or if X failed to start for some reason.
> That must be why I got the impression that .xinitrc was simply ignored.)
> We still come back to the basic question: what users already exist on the
> system?  I have suggested two ways of finding out: /etc/passwd and a list of
> directories in /home.  Neither has been provided.  The OP doesn't know where
> to look to view that info.  A Fedora user may be able to suggest how he would
> find out, but I am running Mandriva.  Without that info, neither of us can
> suggest anything.
> Doug.

I agree the OP hasn't provided the data asked for. I suspect he might
not have enough Linux experience to do so. Don't know. You're methods
would help if he can weed out real users from the other chaff in the
passwd file. /home may or may not exist if normal users have never
been added. It could be the only user with a passwd is root, and since
root is running XFCE...

I think it __had__ to be clear from the moment I spoke up that I was
talking about a custom inittab file. I said clearly I changed it to
cause a MythTV box to run mythfrontend automatically.

I'm not going to continue on with this as I think I'm somehow not
getting my idea across. Once again:

1) The OP said "it starts the X-server and runs XFCE4 as root".

2) Contrary to your description above I suggest root __is__ a user.
root exits on the system. That 'user' is most certainly in existence
on every Linux system I've ever used.

3) Change my line to "c1:12345:respawn:/bin/su root -c startx" (or
something like that - I'd never run X as root so I won't even try
testing this!)

4) Put "exec startxfce4" in .xinitrc file

5) Reboot the system and XFCE starts as root without a login.

Anyway, we both agree that the system in discussion is clearly weird
and the OP hasn't provided the info necessary to go further so as for
me - over and out.


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