[clug] Runlevel 5 vs 3 and startx

Mr B jadeba at gmail.com
Thu Nov 24 07:34:54 GMT 2005

Out of curiosity, I did some (very rudimentary) tests a while ago were
I logged on remotely and measured loads on the system in various
states.  One of the things I noticed was when the system was just
sitting at the (default) gdm login screen it used almost no  more
CPU/Memory power than if I was in RL 3.

It was a different story once X started and a lot of crap started
chewing resources.  Now if it's something I can do in text mode I just
Ctrl+Atl+F1 and log in on a text window, but the graphical display is
there if I need it (seemingly) without the overhead.  Also noticed
that it unloaded everything when I logged out and went back to the
login screen.  Was just wondering if there is another reason to not
leave it on the login screen or if it's just a hangup from the old


On 24/11/05, Michael James <Michael.James at csiro.au> wrote:
> Dear Cluggers,
> For a desktop machine, set the runlevel to 5 and log in graphically.
> For a server, I've always set the runlevel to 3,
>  logged on in plain text, then used startx because I want graphics.
> (Even if only to have 2 terminals side by side.)
> Now SuSE's permissions.secure takes the SUID bit
>  off /usr/X11R6/bin/Xorg thereby breaking startx
>  for all but privileged users.
> When I complained the maintainer said startx is obsolete.
> Am I just being old-fashioned keeping my servers at runlevel 3?
> Is there no real resource penalty to having them at 5 all the time?
> (If it's just a bit of inactive RAM, it'll soon be swapped out.)
> Logging on locally is rare but sometimes I do it
>  for convenience or to configure network interfaces.
> Just to do what startx used to do I now have to log on (text) as root,
>  up the runlevel to 5, log on again, do the work,
>  su to root and finally init back to 3.  What a pain.
> Anyone know what the security problem with Xorg is
>  that led to removing the SUID bit?
> Anyone know a wrapper that could make it safer?
> TIA,
> michaelj
> --
> Michael James                         michael.james at csiro.au
> System Administrator                    voice:  02 6246 5040
> CSIRO Bioinformatics Facility             fax:  02 6246 5166
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>  you always get less than you hoped.
> Unless you pay nothing, then you get more.
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