PAM_XAUTH(8) Linux-PAM Manual PAM_XAUTH(8)
pam_xauth - PAM module to forward xauth keys between users
pam_xauth.so [debug] [xauthpath=/path/to/xauth] [systemuser=UID]
The pam_xauth PAM module is designed to forward xauth keys (sometimes
referred to as "cookies") between users.
Without pam_xauth, when xauth is enabled and a user uses the su(1)
command to assume another user's privileges, that user is no longer
able to access the original user's X display because the new user does
not have the key needed to access the display. pam_xauth solves the
problem by forwarding the key from the user running su (the source
user) to the user whose identity the source user is assuming (the
target user) when the session is created, and destroying the key when
the session is torn down.
This means, for example, that when you run su(1) from an xterm session,
you will be able to run X programs without explicitly dealing with the
xauth(1) xauth command or ~/.Xauthority files.
pam_xauth will only forward keys if xauth can list a key connected to
the $DISPLAY environment variable.
Primitive access control is provided by ~/.xauth/export in the invoking
user's home directory and ~/.xauth/import in the target user's home
If a user has a ~/.xauth/import file, the user will only receive
cookies from users listed in the file. If there is no ~/.xauth/import
file, the user will accept cookies from any other user.
If a user has a .xauth/export file, the user will only forward cookies
to users listed in the file. If there is no ~/.xauth/export file, and
the invoking user is not root, the user will forward cookies to any
other user. If there is no ~/.xauth/export file, and the invoking user
is root, the user will not forward cookies to other users.
Both the import and export files support wildcards (such as *). Both
the import and export files can be empty, signifying that no users are
Print debug information.
Specify the path the xauth program (it is expected in
/usr/X11R6/bin/xauth, /usr/bin/xauth, or /usr/bin/X11/xauth by
Specify the highest UID which will be assumed to belong to a
"system" user. pam_xauth will refuse to forward credentials to
users with UID less than or equal to this number, except for root
and the "targetuser", if specified.
Specify a single target UID which is exempt from the systemuser
MODULE TYPES PROVIDED
Only the session type is provided.
Memory buffer error.
Permission denied by import/export file.
Cannot determine user name, UID or access users home directory.
User not known.
Add the following line to /etc/pam.d/su to forward xauth keys between
users when calling su:
session optional pam_xauth.so
pam_xauth will work only if it is used from a setuid application in
which the getuid() call returns the id of the user running the
application, and for which PAM can supply the name of the account that
the user is attempting to assume. The typical application of this type
is su(1). The application must call both pam_open_session() and
pam_close_session() with the ruid set to the uid of the calling user
and the euid set to root, and must have provided as the PAM_USER item
the name of the target user.
pam_xauth calls xauth(1) as the source user to extract the key for
$DISPLAY, then calls xauth as the target user to merge the key into the
a temporary database and later remove the database.
pam_xauth cannot be told to not remove the keys when the session is
pam.conf(5), pam.d(5), pam(7)
pam_xauth was written by Nalin Dahyabhai <firstname.lastname@example.org>, based on
original version by Michael K. Johnson <email@example.com>.
Linux-PAM Manual 09/19/2013 PAM_XAUTH(8)
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