Start Arduino IDE as root on Fedora / Allow root to start an X application


Solution

Execute the following as a normal user

xhost +si:localuser:root;
sudo ./arduino;

Background Story and More Information

Recently we needed to start the official Arduino IDE as root on Fedora to allow the application to take control of the serial port.
We were getting the following error whenever we tried to upload the application to the board:

processing.app.debug.RunnerException
 at cc.arduino.packages.uploaders.SerialUploader.uploadUsingPreferences(SerialUploader.java:160)
 at cc.arduino.UploaderUtils.upload(UploaderUtils.java:78)
 at processing.app.SketchController.upload(SketchController.java:713)
 at processing.app.SketchController.exportApplet(SketchController.java:686)
 at processing.app.Editor$DefaultExportHandler.run(Editor.java:2168)
 at java.lang.Thread.run(Thread.java:748)
Caused by: processing.app.SerialException: Error touching serial port '/dev/ttyACM0'.
 at processing.app.Serial.touchForCDCReset(Serial.java:107)
 at cc.arduino.packages.uploaders.SerialUploader.uploadUsingPreferences(SerialUploader.java:144)
 ... 5 more
Caused by: jssc.SerialPortException: Port name - /dev/ttyACM0; Method name - openPort(); Exception type - Permission denied.
 at jssc.SerialPort.openPort(SerialPort.java:170)
 at processing.app.Serial.touchForCDCReset(Serial.java:101)
 ... 6 more

So, we tried to start the arduino IDE using root and got another error:

[[email protected] bin]$ sudo ./arduino;
[sudo] password for george: 
No protocol specified
Picked up JAVA_TOOL_OPTIONS: 
No protocol specified
java.awt.AWTError: Can't connect to X11 window server using ':0' as the value of the DISPLAY variable.
	at sun.awt.X11GraphicsEnvironment.initDisplay(Native Method)
	at sun.awt.X11GraphicsEnvironment.access$200(X11GraphicsEnvironment.java:65)
	at sun.awt.X11GraphicsEnvironment$1.run(X11GraphicsEnvironment.java:115)
	at java.security.AccessController.doPrivileged(Native Method)
	at sun.awt.X11GraphicsEnvironment.(X11GraphicsEnvironment.java:74)
	at java.lang.Class.forName0(Native Method)
	at java.lang.Class.forName(Class.java:264)
	at java.awt.GraphicsEnvironment.createGE(GraphicsEnvironment.java:103)
	at java.awt.GraphicsEnvironment.getLocalGraphicsEnvironment(GraphicsEnvironment.java:82)
	at sun.awt.X11.XToolkit.(XToolkit.java:126)
	at java.lang.Class.forName0(Native Method)
	at java.lang.Class.forName(Class.java:264)
	at java.awt.Toolkit$2.run(Toolkit.java:860)
	at java.awt.Toolkit$2.run(Toolkit.java:855)
	at java.security.AccessController.doPrivileged(Native Method)
	at java.awt.Toolkit.getDefaultToolkit(Toolkit.java:854)
	at java.awt.SystemColor.updateSystemColors(SystemColor.java:473)
	at java.awt.SystemColor.(SystemColor.java:465)
	at processing.app.Theme.init(Theme.java:84)
	at processing.app.Base.(Base.java:219)
	at processing.app.Base.main(Base.java:144)

This error occurred because the default configuration of the X server permissions did not allow the root to connect to it.
To verify this, we used xhost (the X server access control program) to check the permissions.
Executing xhost with no command line arguments gave us a message indicating whether or not access control was currently enabled, followed by the list of those users allowed to connect.
For example in our case the output was as follows:

[[email protected] bin]$ xhost
access control enabled, only authorized clients can connect
SI:localuser:george

To add root to the list of users that was allowed to start an X application we executed the following command:

[[email protected] bin]$ xhost +si:localuser:root
localuser:root being added to access control list

Executing xhost again, we got the updated list which included the root

[[email protected] bin]$ xhost
access control enabled, only authorized clients can connect
SI:localuser:root
SI:localuser:george

After this, we were able to start arduino IDE using sudo with no problems.

[[email protected] bin]$ sudo ./arduino;

Note: This patch is not permanent, we actually execute it once at every restart of the machine.

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