startx problem (was Re: HEADS UP: xorg upgrade plans)

Scott Allendorf scott-allendorf at
Wed May 23 22:04:40 UTC 2007

On Wed, 2 May 2007, Stephen Montgomery-Smith wrote:

 > On Wed, 2 May 2007, Kris Kennaway wrote:
 >> On Wed, May 02, 2007 at 02:40:26PM -0500, Stephen Montgomery-Smith 
 >>> Secondly, X7.2 as I tried it wouldn't "startx" if some other login had
 >>> created a .Xauthority file.  While "rm .Xauthority" solved the problem
 >>> completely, I don't think this is user friendly.
 >> I think I ran into this once a while back, I don't know what is the
 >> correct solution.
 > Perhaps you could put in some kind of "setenv XAUTHORITY 
 > in a script somewhere.
 > Actually this one can bite you quite badly.  If you are running X, and
 > then you login from somehwere else, and then go back to the X session,
 > then suddenly all your X commands like xterm will completely stop 
 > It can be really disconcerting if you don't know what caused it, and 
I can
 > see a large number of help messages being generated on the various
 > bulletin boards.

I compared the 6.9 startx script to the one installed by the 7.2 
x11/xinit port.  I found that the older script contained a block of code 
that fixes the problem described above.  In the x11/xinit port the code 
is present in startx.cpp, but is protected by:

#if defined(HAS_COOKIE_MAKER) && defined(MK_COOKIE)

If these defines are set properly during the build, then startx should 
return to its previous behavior.  I have verified this by using the 6.9 
script (with paths changed) on a system that has 7.2 installed.

 From /usr/local/lib/X11/config/

#if OSMajorVersion >= 4
#define HasCookieMaker          YES
#define MkCookieCmd \
         'dd if=/dev/urandom bs=16 count=1 2>/dev/null | hexdump -e 
#define HasCookieMaker          NO



Scott C. Allendorf                     Email:  scott-allendorf at
UNIX Systems Administrator             Office:       216A Van Allen Hall
Department of Physics and Astronomy    Voice:             (319) 335-0003
The University of Iowa                 FAX:               (319) 335-1753
Iowa City, Iowa  52242-1479            ICBM:  41 39 43.6 N  91 31 55.1 W
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