root cannot login tho sudo user can

Karl L karlh at
Thu May 13 02:49:04 UTC 2004

On Thu, 13 May 2004 01:03:25 +0100
Steve Searle <steve at> wrote:

> Around 11:23pm on Wednesday, May 12, 2004 (UK time), Karl L scrawled:
> > > Can you log into root from a virtual terminal (e.g. Ctrl-Alt-F2)?
> > 
> > Yes, I can.  Problem is that once there, I can't get back.  'startx'
> > does not work and neither does 'exit'.  Still, I have full root access
> OK.  This makes it a X Window system problem, not a password problem.
> What is the output of startx?  I assume you have rebooted, which should
> have restarted xfs so it is not likely to be this.
> Cheers
> Steve

I agree.  I've checked the .xsession-errors in both /root and in
/home/user911 and the following call is clearly going bad in /root
(lots of 'command not found' following in /root but not in user911):

/root ===> cat .xsession-errors | more
/etc/X11/gdm/PreSession/Default: Registering your session with wtmp and utmp
/etc/X11/gdm/PreSession/Default: running: /usr/bin/X11/sessreg -a -w /var/log/wt
mp -u /var/run/utmp -x "/var/gdm/:0.Xservers" -h "" -l ":0" "root"

Comparing the files in the two directories I find that .Xclients is missing from the /root directory so I'm following that lead. I'll look
for information on this to see if it has any significance.

At least this accounts for the difference in treatment of root and
user911 by the X interface.  What caused it and how to fix it remains
to be addressed.  Any suggestions?

Karl L

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