Debian Moves To Non-Root X.Org Server By Default

Written by Michael Larabel in Debian on 3 November 2015 at 08:50 AM EST. 32 Comments
Distributions have been working on it for years to let the X.Org Server run without root privileges. This feat has now been accomplished for Debian testing users where if using systemd and a DRM/KMS graphics driver, you can run the xorg-server as a user.

A Phoronix reader pointed out that as of the end of October, the xorg-server 1.17.3-1 update no longer uses setuid root by default. This non-root X.Org Server by default makes use of systemd's logind and libpam-systemd. It also needs a kernel DRM/KMS video driver, X runs on a virtual console from where it was started, and it now stores the Xorg.0.log within ~/.local/share/xorg/.

If you are trying to avoid logind or you're using a graphics processor not backed by a modern DRM/KMS driver, you will need to install the xserver-xorg-legacy package to let the X.Org Server run as root. Of course, the move to running the X.Org Server without root privileges is primarily for providing better security in case of the all too common X.Org Server bugs.
Related News
About The Author
Author picture

Michael Larabel is the principal author of and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via

Popular News This Week