Linux: startx gives me the error “chmod: changing permissions of ‘/dev/null’: Operation not permitted” and won’t log in to graphical desktop

In Linux (Debian 10), when I log in at the command line and type startx, I get some info about X.Org X server and the operating system, followed by

xf86EnableIOPorts: failed to set IOPL for I/O (Operation not permitted)
(II) [KMS] Kernel modesetting enabled.
chmod: changing permissions of '/dev/null': Operation not permitted
xinit: connection to X server lost
waiting for X server to shut down (II) Server terminated successfully (0). Closing log file.

As a Linux noob, the only thing I could think of that I did to cause a problem with /dev/null was that some package I installed a while back kept writing gigabytes’ worth of error messages every minute to a log file, so I redirected the file’s contents to /dev/null (I don’t remember how; looking around the internet, I assume it was either cat /dev/null > file_log.txt or cp /dev/null file_log.txt. It was a log file in my ~ directory, not /var or /tmp.) I’ve uninstalled that package. This is the first time I’ve rebooted since then, so this is the first time startx has been called.

I’m not short on disk space:

$ df -h
Filesystem           Size             Used            Avail            Use%  Mounted on
udev                  3.5G               0             3.5G               0%  /dev
tmpfs                 717M             18M             700M               3%  /run
/dev/sda2             457G             13G             421G               3%  /
tmpfs                 3.5G               0             3.5G               0%  /dev/shm
tmpfs                 5.0M            4.0K             5.0M               1%  /run/lock
tmpfs                 3.5G               0             3.5G               0%  /sys/fs/cgroup
/dev/sda1             511M            5.2M             506M               2%  /boot/efi
tmpfs                 717M               0             717M               0%  /run/user/1000

(I have no idea why there are all those tmpfs filesystems. I didn’t create them manually or choose to make them at install.)

These are /dev/null’s permissions:

$ls -l /dev/null
crw-rw-rw- 1 root root 1, 3 Sep 21 08:45 /dev/null

I tried changing /dev/null’s permissions:

$ su
# chmod 777 /dev/null
# exit
$ ls -l /dev/null
crwxrwxrwx 1 root root 1, 3 Sep 21 08:45 /dev/null
$ startx

and still get the exact same error message about changing permissions of ‘/dev/null’ not being permitted, though nothing about xf86EnableIOPorts this time.

Following the answers here, I tried both

# rm -f /dev/null; mknod -m 666 /dev/null c 1 3

and basically the same thing:

# rm /dev/null
# mknod /dev/null c 1 3
# chmod 666 /dev/null

but $ startx still gives me the same error as above.

I’ve also tried everything here, including uninstalling and reinstalling xserver-xorg and xinit, and startx still gives me the same error about /dev/null.

Switching to root and running # startx starts X correctly and logs in to the desktop environment, so maybe that’ll be helpful to know.

This seems like a simple permissions thing, but again, noob.


Source : Link , Question Author : John , Answer Author : Community

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