Xserver needs to run as "root" on Linux / was: Re: [Xorg] Server side widgets

Alan Coopersmith Alan.Coopersmith at Sun.COM
Mon Jul 12 00:53:20 PDT 2004

Roland Mainz wrote:
> Sean Middleditch wrote:
> [snip]
>>Third, speaking of root, do you really want all that complex code in
>>such a process?  The more code you have, the more potential bugs and
>>security holes.
> This is _ONLY_ a problem of the Linux Xserver. Solaris and other Unices
> run their Xserver under plain user accounts. 

Solaris x86 Xsun runs as root - only on SPARC does Solaris Xsun not 
require uid root priveledges.  On x86, it requires root to get access
to the PCI bus & card registers and memory mappings.  (On SPARC, it's
setgid root in order to do process priority adjustments and power
control of the display & frame buffer.)

> or turning
> the drivers into kernel modules (AFAIK Solaris Xsun does it that way).

Yes, on SPARC.  On x86, it doesn't since it would take much longer to 
get devices ported, and keep us from using the Xorg/XFree86 open source
drivers without a lot of extra effort.

	-Alan Coopersmith-           alan.coopersmith at sun.com
	 Sun Microsystems, Inc. - X Window System Engineering

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