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X display sharing fails (xauth)

I often need to test gui applications under a different login, so I can easily wipe out .dotfiles and run with a known environment. I've had this working since F8 with an xauth entry that allowed the other user access to my display. All I needed was a terminal window logged in as the other user, and I could run apps that needed access to the X display.

A couple of days ago, this stopped working. Now, as the test user, I get

$ firefox
No protocol specified
Error: cannot open display: :0.0

and from my normal desktop login, I get

$ xauth list
xauth: error in locking authority file /var/run/gdm/auth-cookie-XXGB42IU-for-jes

I can use "xhost +" but I'd prefer to be a little more specific, even though I'm the only user.

Switching users through the panel "User Switcher" is not convenient: I have to enter a password every time I switch users and I can't run things side by side on the same display. I don't really need full console access, just the display.

Any ideas what broke, or suggestions for getting my old configuration working again?


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