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X Display Tips

This section deals with some X Window System tips for novice X users.

Tip #1: Adding Hosts to the Access Control List

Suppose you're in an X session and you want to start an X program as root. The message you get will be something like the following:

Error: Can't open display

This is because the restrictions made by X allow only the user who started X to start X-based applications. In this case, you should enable the host who will be starting the application by using the command xhost. To enable a host to start X applications on the server, use the following command:

bash$xhost + hostname

The previous command adds the hostname of the host who's allowed to connect to the X server. To allow users connecting from the localhost, use the following command:

bash$xhost + localhost

Users connecting from the localhost will be able to start X programs if they exported the correct DISPLAY environment variable.

Tip #2: Exporting the DISPLAY Environment Variable

After you have added the localhost to the control access list, the root user must export the correct DISPLAY environment variable to connect to the X server. This can be done as follows:

bash#export DISPLAY=:0

Tip #3: Starting X Programs on Other Servers and Exporting the DISPLAY Variable to Your X Server

Let's suppose you want to access some X programs on another machine and want to see them on your X server. If your IP is and the machine from which you want to start the program is, you can do the following:

  1. Log in to the server using telnet.

  2. On your machine, allow the to connect to your X server by issuing the command xhost + in another xterm.

  3. On the telnet window, issue the command export DISPLAY=

  4. Start the program, which will show up on your X Window System.

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