xauth: error in locking authority file

By | February 13, 2015

xauthI logged into an AIX LPAR this morning, and I was greeted with the following error:

$ssh server
fred@servers’s password:
Last login: Mon Feb 9 08:11:52 2015 from 0.0.0.100
/usr/bin/xauth: error in locking authority file /home/fred/.Xauthority

I had seen this error in the past, but never took the time to research how to fix the problem. Apparently what was happening is that the .Xauthority file could not be locked because there was an existing lock on the file. I used a ls -la command in my home directory, and sure enough there were two lock files present:

-rw------- 1  fred admin 0 Feb 9 08:11 /home/fred/.Xauthority-c
-rw------- 1  fred admin 0 Feb 9 08:11 /home/fred/.Xauthority-l

The simple solution was to delete these two files using the rm command and the error has not returned in subsequent logins.

More information about x-windows on AIX can be found at IBM developerWorks.

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