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X.Org Server Now Runs Without Root On OpenBSD

BSD

Published on 24 February 2014 12:03 AM EST
Written by Michael Larabel in BSD
13 Comments

The OpenBSD operating system now supports running its X.Org Server without root permissions for better security.

OpenBSD has long been interested in the Linux KMS/DRM drivers for having the graphics drivers within the kernel so that their X.Org Server doesn't need to be executed as root. As of this weekend that long goal has finally been realized with their X.Org Server not requiring elevated privileges when using the Intel and AMD KMS drivers.

The Intel KMS driver has been stable now for some months while the Radeon KMS driver matured a lot in FreeBSD (for the 10.0 release) over the second half of last year and has since worked its way into DragonFlyBSD and OpenBSD. With the latest code in OpenBSD-current, the X.Org Server doesn't need to access kernel memory or I/O devices directly and thereby can safely run as a user. The Linux xorg-server has also shared this benefit of better security when using KMS drivers or also when using the binary NVIDIA driver.

More details on this OpenBSD security achievement can be found via this blog entry.

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