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I restarted Ubuntu a few minutes ago, and got a warning dialog early in the bootup process (before the desktop was up)...

It wasn't just a scrolling message which flitted off the screen of its own accord.
It was a dialog which stopped proceedings, until I acknowledged it.

Could not update ICEauthority file /home/me/.ICEauthority  

What, Why, and Who dun it? :)

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I also had that issue recently after updating from the graphical interface of Ubuntu update manager.I was not root.So issue iś indeed weird. – Denja Feb 5 '11 at 4:35
up vote 4 down vote accepted

Your .ICEauthority file probably isn't owned by your user (maybe because you ran something as root/with 'sudo' that has overwritten it). You can check this by running (in a terminal):

ls -l /home/you/.ICEauthority

If it says something other than

-rw------- 1 you you ...

you need to make it owned by your user again:

sudo chown you:you /home/you/.ICEauthority

maybe you also need to correct permissions:

chmod 600 /home/you/.ICEauthority

To avoid such problems, don't run X applications with 'sudo' - use graphical sudo instead (addendum by Murat Gunes).

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Okay, I do recall running sudo for something that I thought at the time didn't really need it, but I forget what it was... ("updatedb' maybe?)... and ~/.ICEauthority is now root:root .. so thanks for that... but I'm still puzzled as to why it happened... I'd like to know WHAT this "ICE.." thing is about, so I can avoid it in future... Is there a simple explanation? – Peter.O Oct 31 '10 at 9:23
ICE is the "Inter Client Exchange" protocol, which allows X clients (applications) to directly talk to each other. The .ICEauthority file contains some kind of cookies and is used for authentication purposes. Now if one application run as root updates this file, others (run by your user) can no longer write to it and authentication/communication will fail. For more details on ICE see: How to avoid such problems? Don't run things with 'sudo' that don't need to be run with 'sudo'. :P – htorque Oct 31 '10 at 9:35
Thanks htorque.... I think it must have happened when I was experimenting with konsole Terminal command-line options... I remember using --display <displayname> Use the X-server display 'displayname' (and I think I tried sudo :( ... – Peter.O Oct 31 '10 at 9:46
Avoid running X applications with "sudo". Details here: – mgunes Oct 31 '10 at 9:51
A good explanation of "sudo"... thanks – Peter.O Oct 31 '10 at 10:07

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