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Old 05-27-2006, 11:42 PM   #1
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Error: can't open display.

I am Linux and Unix illiterate.

I am a student working on an independent computing project via a large-scale Linux cluster at school (Indiana - AVIDD-I cluster). I need to access a program (fluent) on this cluster.

I am connecting thru a ssh downloaded from the university. I have a trial version of Hummingbird Exceed with the 3D option loaded onto my laptop (Dell Insiron 8200) at home.

I used to get the following error upon attempting to access fluent:

Error: DISPLAY environment variable not set

after searching this site I ran:

export DISPLAY=localhost:0.0

which apparently set the display variable.
Now I get the following error:

Error: can't open display.
fluent: error: couldn't initialize interface.

Any clue??????? Any help would be GREATLY appreciated!!!
My Academic Advisor is in Sri Lanka for the summer and, therefore, a marginal resource for assistance.

Old 05-28-2006, 02:18 AM   #2
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And welcome to LQ!

I don't know Exceed, but if you export a DISPLAY variable on
the machine you ssh into it has to be not localhost but the
box you're sitting on? (That is, it really shouldn't be
necessary at all if ssh has been set-up with X11Forwarding
enabled.) WHat happens if you
ssh -X user@machine
into that host? Can you just start up X apps and they pop
up on your screen?

Old 05-28-2006, 02:32 AM   #3
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With a direct connection (i.e. without ssh tunnelling), you need to set $DISPLAY to the IP address or hostname on your University's LAN. A $DISPLAY of "localhost" will only work for applications you're running locally, on your own PC.

So I believe that "set DISPLAY=localhost:0" will not work.

But unfortunately, since I've never used ssh tunneling, I'm not 100% certain about this...

My understanding is that Exceed supports ssh tunneling directly. I believe this means you should *unset* DISPLAY (in DOS/Windows), and *select* SSH tunneling (in Exceed).

This link might help:

Good luck .. PSM

Sounds like a fascinating project!

This link is a bit less useful:

But it mentions that you must enable X11 forwarding:
<= This might be the key!

I just noticed that tinkster suggested the same thing: "configuring ssh for X11 forwarding". The exact syntax, of course, depends on which "ssh" program you're using (in your case, probably "putty"). Again, please check out the Oxford page:

'Hope that helps!

Last edited by paulsm4; 05-28-2006 at 02:55 AM.
Old 02-03-2014, 06:58 AM   #4
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X tunnel through SSH

when using ssh you don't have to change the DISPLAY environment variable in the remote machine, since ssh will take care of that.

if the remote machine don't have sshd service, and you cannot ssh to it, in this case you have to use telnet and therefor use the
export DISPLAY='your machine':0.0
setenv DISPLAY 'your machine':0.0

according to the shell used in the remote machine.

also make sure to open the X11 port 6000 in your server.


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