Starting X changed root on diskless client

Josh Triplett josh at
Tue Jan 2 01:36:00 PST 2007

Pavel Rubtsov wrote:
> Hi All!
> I have server for diskless clients with running xdm, waiting for xdmcp
> connections. Also on this server i have separate directory for root fs
> for diskless clients /netroot.
> I boot up diskless client and get console. In this console my root (/)
> is root on server (/netroot) and all is OK. When i start X on
> diskless client such:
> # X -query
> its start X-server. I run xterm, do "ls /" and i see root of SERVER!
> Why???
> I think i will see MY root (/netroot) in console or X-env...
> Please explain me what happened...
> Thanks a lot!

In the description below, please note the difference between the X server and
X clients, and your server machine and client machines.  In particular, in
your case, your clients run an X server, and your server runs X clients. :)

The X server, which runs on your diskless clients, just provides access to a
display, and to input devices like a keyboard and mouse.  When you query the
XDM running on your server, running with your server's root, and ask it to
manage that display, you get a login prompt from your server's XDM.  After you
log in, and run X clients like xterm, those run on your server too; they just
display to the X server.  Thus, the shell running under the xterm runs on the
server, and the commands you type at it run on the server.

You have a few options here.  You could run xdm and X clients on your server,
as you do now.  You could run xdm and X clients on your server, but chrooted
inside /netroot.  You could run xdm and X clients on your various clients,
without using XDMCP.

- Josh Triplett

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