So, I don’t know what the heck happened, but I have what looks like a solution: a number of important files in /dev somehow had their permissions changed. I had to do the following:
chmod a+rw /dev/null chmod a+rw /dev/urandom chmod a+rw /dev/zero chmod a+rw /dev/full chmod a+rw /dev/random
After which X started and the complaints about /dev/null went away. As I worked thru fixing first /dev/null, each step got me a bit further, with more complaints about inaccessable /dev/ entries, so I just kept fixing them until the complaints went away.
I also compared permissions in /dev against my Fedora 19 netbook, which is how I knew what permissions to use for the rest, as well as being where I
found correct permissions, as well as /dev/zero and /dev/full being wrong.
I have NO CLUE what hosed the permissions, and I can’t be sure that there may not be some other items also wrong (that I can’t see because they don’t appear on the F19 system).
Can anyone suggest an accurate way to have the system fix all the permissions in /dev? some arcane options on rpm, perhaps?