Running GUI applications as root

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Revision as of 22:51, 26 July 2013 by Karol (talk | contribs) (rm gap)
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By default, and for security reasons, root will be unable to connect to a non-root user's X server. There are multiple ways of allowing root to do so, if it is necessary.

The most secure methods

The most secure methods are simple. They include:

  • kdesu (included with KDE)
$ kdesu name-of-app
  • gksu (included with GNOME)
$ gksu name-of-app
  • bashrun (in community)
$ bashrun --su name-of-app
  • sudo (must be installed and properly configured with visudo)
$ sudo name-of-app
  • sux (wrapper around su which will transfer your X credentials)
$ sux root name-of-app

These are the preferred methods, because they automatically exit when the application exits, negating any security risks quite completely.

Alternate methods

These methods will allow root to connect to a non-root user's X server, but present varying levels of security risks, especially if you run ssh. If you are behind a firewall, you may consider them to be safe enough for your requirements.

  • Temporarily allow root access
  • xhost
$ xhost +

will temporarily allow root, or anyone to connect your X server. Likewise,

$ xhost -

will disallow this function afterward.

Some users also use:

$ xhost + localhost

(Your X server must be configured to listen to TCP connections for xhost + localhost to work).

  • Permanently allow root access
  • Globally in /etc/profile

Add the following to /etc/profile

export XAUTHORITY=/home/non-root-usersname/.Xauthority

This will permanently allow root to connect to a non-root user's X server.

Or, merely specify a particular app:

export XAUTHORITY=/home/usersname/.Xauthority kwrite

(to allow root to access kwrite, for instance.)