Monthly Archives: April 2012


Allowing more then one user to start an X session (pam authentication)


I had an issue, where I needed to let someone else login to my computer, and peek over my shoulder. But when they tried to start an x11vnc session, they of course got the “PAM authentication failed, cannot start X server” error message.

It’s an easy fix, that I found on Read this entry for full details on the “why it works!”

So I can’t claim any credit for this solution. (BUT it is simple and works wonderfully). So in my usual step by step approach:

1. Get to the right directory:

cd /var/run/console

2. Now create an empty file with the user name you want to be able to start an x-session:

sudo touch username

Touch will either create an empty (zero length) file, or if the file already exists, it will update the access time stamps. (might be a “good thing” if you want to backup a file!)

We have to become root (use of sudo or you can su -) to do the touch.

3. I start vnc as:

x11vnc -create -usepw -display :0

-create tells vnc to find the existing x session, or if necessary create it.

-usepw says to use or store a password in ~/.vnc/passwd

– display :0 is the x server display to connect to.

That’s it!



First Look: Ubuntu 12.04 lts


I installed the Ubuntu 12.04 beta. Very slow login. Over 2 minutes. There is no way to adjust mouse sensitivity. (even with mouse adjusted as low as it will go, it’s far too fast.) I tried the gnome-fallback (gnome-panel). Unity was way way too confusing.

I will try KDE before totally abandoning Ubuntu, (a 584 meg download!) but I will be probably be installing Debian Squeeze. Thanks Ubuntu for many years of loyal service. But it is time for us to part ways.