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Re: Building 22.1, on Ubuntu

From: Tim X
Subject: Re: Building 22.1, on Ubuntu
Date: Sun, 09 Sep 2007 14:15:10 +1000
User-agent: Gnus/5.11 (Gnus v5.11) Emacs/22.1.50 (gnu/linux)

"Dave Pawson" <address@hidden> writes:

> Success, or a step forward at least.
> as root, I'm still getting the text based version. Why? No idea.

It is probably Xauthority causing emacs to run in text mode if you have
su'd to root from your normal user account under X, especially if you did
an su - rather than just su as this causes su to setup a proper root
environment rather than stay in the users envrionment, but elevate
permisisons to root. With su -, you will find roots setup files are
executed (for example, $HOME will be set to root's home), without the - su
will not setup a rot env, you will find $HOME is still et to the users
home). If $HOME is set to roots home, then it will try to use the
.Xauthority file in that directory, which may not exist, or if it does, it
will have an old Xauth cookie that is not valid. 

X uses a 'magic cookie' to control access to the X display. Essentially,
you have to have this cookie (usually stored in .Xauthority in order to
write to access the display. If you run emacs and it cannot open the X
display, it will run in text mode. 

I think its generally a bad idea to build and test software as root if its
not required. I always build emacs as a normal user and test it as that
user. I only switch to root to run make install as that process needs root
privs to write to /usr/local. 

I'm always amazed at how, in this day of open source, people will download
software from some unknown/untrusted source and then build and run it as
root for the first time. Many GNU Linux uses are a bit arrogant about
viruses and malware that make windows users life a pain, yet they will
blindly download some sources and try them out without even considering
that such sources could have malware or a virus built into them. The fact
they do this as root totally negates the real advantage of GNU Linux with
its clear seperation of user and kernel space. Given this practice, I
suspect the only real reason we haven't seen more security issues with
malware, trojans, viruses etc is not that we are inherently more secure,
but rather  because as yet we just aren't quite a big enough target and
Wndows is just too easy/tempting. 

tcross (at) rapttech dot com dot au

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