X Version 11 (Release 6.1)
X authority file utility
xauth [ -f authfile ] [ -vqib ]
[ command arg . . . ]
The xauth program is used to edit and display the authorization
information used in connecting to the X server. This program is usually
used to extract authorization records from one machine and merge them in on
another (as is the case when using remote logins or granting access to
other users). Commands (described below) may be entered interactively,
on the xauth command line, or in scripts. Note that this program
does not contact the X server.
Normally xauth is not used to create the authority file entry in
the first place.
The following options may be used with xauth. They may be given
individually (for example, -q -i) or may
combined (for example, -qi).
xauth attempts to break any authority
file locks before proceeding and should only be used to clean up stale locks
specifies the name of the authority file to use. By default,
xauth uses the file specified by
the XAUTHORITY environment variable
or .Xauthority in the user's home directory.
xauth ignores any authority file
locks. Normally, xauth refuses to read or edit any authority files
that have been locked by other programs (usually xdm or another
xauth operates quietly and does not print
unsolicited status messages. This is the default if an xauth command
is given on the command line or if the standard output is not directed to a
xauth operates verbosely and prints
status messages indicating the results of various operations
(for example, how many records have been read in or written out).
This is the default if xauth
is reading commands from its standard input and its standard output is
directed to a terminal.
The following commands may be used to manipulate authority files:
add displayname protocolname hexkey
adds an authorization entry for the indicated display using the given protocol
and key data to the authorization file. The data is specified as
an even-lengthed string of hexadecimal digits, each pair representing
one octet. The first
digit gives the most significant 4 bits of the octet and the second digit
gives the least significant 4 bits. A protocol name consisting of just a
single period is treated as an abbreviation for MIT-MAGIC-COOKIE-1
writes authorization entries for each of the
specified displays to the indicated file.
If the nextract command is used, the entries are written
in a numeric format suitable for non-binary transmission (such as secure
electronic mail). The extracted entries can be read back in using the
merge and nmerge commands. If the filename consists of
just a single dash, the entries are written to the standard output.
[n]list [displayname . . .]
prints authorization entries for each of the specified displays (or all if no
displays are named) on the standard output. If the nlist
command is used, entries are shown in the numeric format used by
the nextract command; otherwise, they are shown in a textual format.
Key data is always displayed in the hexadecimal format given in the
description of the add command.
[n]merge [filename . . .]
reads authorization entries from the specified files and merges them into
the authorization database, superseding any matching existing entries. If
the nmerge command is used,
the numeric format given in the description
of the extract command is used.
If filename is a single
dash, the standard input is read if it hasn't
already been read by another command.
remove displayname . . .
removes authorization entries matching the specified displays
from the authority file
treats filename as a script containing xauth commands
to execute. Blank lines and lines beginning with a sharp sign ``#'' are
ignored. If filename is a single dash
the standard input is read if it
hasn't already been read by another command.
prints to standard output information describing the authorization file,
whether or not any changes have been made,
and the source of the xauth commands
If any modifications have been made, the authority file is written out (if
allowed), and the program exits. An end of file is treated as an implicit
exits the program, ignoring any modifications.
This may also be accomplished
by pressing the interrupt character.
prints descriptions of all commands that begin with the given string (or all
commands if no string is given) on the standard output.
prints a short list of the valid commands on the standard output.
Display names for the add, [n]extract, [n]list,
[n]merge, and remove commands use the same format as the
DISPLAY environment variable and the common
-display command line
argument. Display-specific information (such as the screen number)
is unnecessary and will be ignored.
Same-machine connections (such as local-host sockets,
shared memory, and the Internet Protocol hostname localhost) are
referred to as hostname/unix:displaynumber so that
local entries for different machines may be stored in one authority file.
This xauth program uses the following environment variables:
to get the name of the authority file to use if the -f option is
to get the user's home directory if XAUTHORITY is not defined.
default authority file if XAUTHORITY is not defined
Users that have unsecure networks should take care to use encrypted
file transfer mechanisms to copy authorization entries between machines.
Similarly, the MIT-MAGIC-COOKIE-1 protocol is not
very useful in unsecure environments. Sites that are interested in
additional security may need to use encrypted authorization mechanisms
such as Kerberos.
Spaces are currently not allowed in the protocol name.
The most common use for xauth is to extract the entry for the
current display, copy it to another machine, and merge it into the
user's authority file on the remote machine:
xauth extract - $DISPLAY | rsh otherhost xauth merge -
© 2004 The SCO Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
UnixWare 7 Release 7.1.4 - 25 April 2004