No automatic boot to X and Xauthorization problem

Peter Garrett peter.garrett at
Sat Jun 25 17:20:52 UTC 2005

On Sat, 25 Jun 2005 09:51:30 -0500
"BB" <ubuntulist at> wrote:

> My installation stopped booting into xwindows.
> I have to log into a prompt and then use "startx" to get to the GUI (Gnome).
> When I try to start Synaptic and some other programs, I get this message:
> failed to run /usr/sbin/synaptic
> unable to copy the users Xauthorization file.

Try this;

sudo rm ~/.Xauthority

log out ; log in again ( in your case, I guess you will logout of Gnome, and then re-run startx)

> I have searched and found references to this problem but not an answer.
> I can start Synaptic from a terminal as root.

Yes, you can run Synaptic as root, because you have already run something as root (probably synaptic) in the GUI, also known as X, and your ~/.Xauthority file is now owned by root. If you run

ls -l ~/.Xauthority 

I suspect you will see that it is owned by root. (Before you delete it, of course ;-) )

> When I try to shutdown from Gnome, I only have the option to log out, no
> shutdown.

I think this is a session option given by GDM: as you are running startx, GDM does not come into the picture at all. Why GDM isn't running is another question, which I can't answer from your information; possibly someone else has seen this behaviour and will know the reason.
> Any ideas?

Suggestion: to run apps that need root authority, run for example 

gksudo synaptic  

(running GUI apps as root is a Bad Move (tm), and can result in the problem you describe. It's also not very secure, and sometimes an excellent way to break things without much effort, as you've discovered )

I may be wrong about the solution , but I've seen this happen to people for the reasons  I outlined above. (Running GUI apps as root )

> Also, Is there a searchable archive of this list?


More information about the ubuntu-users mailing list