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Intel, Radeon Drivers Become Friendly With Non-Root X Server

X.Org

Published on 03 April 2014 07:22 AM EDT
Written by Michael Larabel in X.Org
11 Comments

Improvements have landed so far into the Intel and Radeon X.Org drivers for better allowing the X.Org Server to run without root privileges.

Last month we wrote about Red Hat working on a suid root wrapper for the X.org Server and other improvements being led by Red Hat's Hans de Goede to run Xorg in more configurations without needing root support. As part of this, sever managed file descriptors (FDs) has been one of the changes needed by the X.Org graphics drivers for supporting this change of running the xorg-server without root rights. Besides needing changes to the DDX drivers and the X.Org Server (those changes are landing with X.Org Server 1.16 this summer), systemd-logind is also needed.

In March the changes landed in xf86-video-intel for supporting the Intel driver in this new, more-secure world, per this commit. "In the post-modern world, the platform device nodes are handed to a non-privileged Xserver by systemd/logind. We can then query the core for our assigned fd rather than try to open the device for ourselves (which would fail when trying to obtain DRM_MASTER status). A consequence is that we then do not directly control DRM_MASTER status and must act as a delegate of systemd."

Following that, the similar server-managed FD change also landed within the Radeon Git DDX (for whatever reason it didn't show up in my RSS feed until hours ago though it was apparently committed weeks ago).

There's yet to be any change to the Nouveau DDX driver, which per the latest mainline Git, hasn't been touched since November of last year.

This will be good news for security conscious Linux users come this summer with the release of X.Org Server 1.16 and the new releases of the Intel/Radeon DDX drivers.

About The Author
Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the web-site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience and being the largest web-site devoted to Linux hardware reviews, particularly for products relevant to Linux gamers and enthusiasts but also commonly reviewing servers/workstations and embedded Linux devices. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics hardware drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated testing software. He can be followed via and or contacted via .
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