[kwlug-help] Loss due to a chown and permissions change on .ICEauthority file

Paul Nijjar paul_nijjar at yahoo.ca
Fri Aug 19 11:14:35 EDT 2011

On Thu, Aug 18, 2011 at 10:25:40PM -0400, pinecone wrote:
> After a recent ubuntu update using update manager I was getting a
> warning about ICEauthority not working. I was also getting frequent
> mouse/keyboard freezes. Research led to advice that the owner was root
> and that was not correct. I chowned the file to my username and changed
> the permissions with chattr 600.  Now, my gui refuses start properly, an
> error says that it can't reach my home directory, a damaged libconfig-2
> error appears and I am ultimately left with a mouse pointer moving
> around the screen with nothing to click.

A LiveCD may not be a bad idea. 

I don't think the "chattr" command does what you want. If I recall
correctly "chattr" changes extended attributes (secure deletion, no
dump, etc) and not the basic ownership (user/group/other
read/write/execute permissions). To change the latter you use the
"chmod" command. 

I think the easiest way for you to get a working desktop back might be
to make a new account on the machine. From the command-line, you would
type the following (as root): 

adduser rescueuser --add_extra_groups

addgroup rescueuser admin

This will make a user named "rescueuser". The second command should
add the user to the "admin" group, which will allow you to use sudo.
You will be prompted for extra info (a name, a password...) . You
should then be able to log in as that user. 

You can then use that user to poke around in the /home directory for
your files. (There may be permissions nonsense you need to do for
this, though.) 

> When I changed to xface or safe
> gnome gui on startup no change. I went in to the home dir in a console
> and it appears my evolution has wiped my mail and left empty dirs! I was
> forced to walk through the evolution install wizard on one bootup but I
> didn't expect to loose my mail system!   It seems I am faced with
> emergency file restoration and abandoning ubuntu. 

I think this might be a separate problem. I do not think it is safe to
assume that Evolution has wiped everything out (but who knows?). I
would focus on getting yourself logged in first, then seeing whether
you can get Evolution back. 

Copying your entire home directory to a SATA drive should not be too
hard even from the command line. 

> BTW, what is the ICEauthority file all about?

Apparently it is for inter-machine communications, but I don't know
for sure. I would bet that this is a file that will get auto generated
when you go into graphical mode. If I was you I would try renaming the
file and seeing whether that lets you log in. Assuming your home
directory is /home/username, I would try the following (in the

cd /home/username
mv .ICEauthority .ICEauthority-bad

Then I would log out and try logging in again in graphical mode. If
that makes things work you can use the "mv" command to reverse the

- Paul


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