X Server without Root Privileges?

May 15, 2008

Red Hat's David Airlie reports in his blog that a simple hack allowed him to develop an X server without root privileges in the course of just one afternoon.

The interesting thing is that Airlie's X Server also supports 3D functionality and Compiz Fusion. According to the developers blog entry this took just 300 lines of code, a couple of changes to the X server, the DRM layer and the Intel driver he was using. No changes were required for client programs.

The fact that the X Server on Linux runs with root privileges has led to malware in applications exploiting X.org to achieve root status in the past. An X server running on a normal non-privileged account would be a major contribution to the security of any Linux system.

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