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Old 07-12-2014, 08:24 PM   #1
Registered: Dec 2004
Distribution: Debian Wheezy
Posts: 444

Rep: Reputation: 30
synclient "Failed to connect to X Server"

I have a bluetooth mouse, and when I use it, I disable the touchpad on my laptop. If my mouse does not connect for some reason (it's happened before), I have no easy way to turn the touchpad back on.

I can enable the touchpad using a terminal in X with synclient TouchpadOff=0, but I can't get to a terminal in X with no mouse! If I switch to another terminnal (cntl+alt+f1), synclient fails with error message, "Failed to connect to X Server." I have tried DISPLAY=":0" with no effect. How can I get this to work? Is there a way to run a command on a terminal other than the one that I am logged into?

Thank you.
Old 07-13-2014, 02:49 AM   #2
Registered: Dec 2004
Distribution: Debian Wheezy
Posts: 444

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 30
I solved it! The solution is in the code block for those who do not care how I found the solution.

After some googling, I found that for synclient to work, it must use some environment variables set by X. I grabbed the variables using export -p > envars while logged in as a normal user in gnome-terminal. I switched to a regular non-X terminal and logged in as root. I copied the envars file to root's home and then sourced it. For those who do not know what sourcing is look here I ran synclient, and it worked, but I didn't want to import every environment variable from X into the console, so I went about narrowing down which variables were important. I referred to the ArchWiki article, and read the example code for "systems with multiple X sessions." They used both XAUTHORITY and DISPLAY. I removed all other environment variables, but those two, and tried the process again. It worked! Finally, I wrote a nice script called touchpad to take care of everything for me.

declare -x DISPLAY=":0"
declare -x XAUTHORITY="/home/bob/.Xauthority"

if [ $1 = "on" ]
  synclient TouchpadOff=0

if [ $1 = "off" ]
  synclient TouchpadOff=1
Now, I can do everything I need to with ./touchpad on or ./touchpad off. Isn't life just wonderful. I hope this will help others in the future.


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