Error opening terminal: xterm

Anton Shterenlikht as at
Wed Jul 12 16:40:58 UTC 2017

> Date: Wed, 12 Jul 2017 18:31:28 +0200
> From: Polytropon <freebsd at>
> To: Anton Shterenlikht <as at>
> Subject: Re: Error opening terminal: xterm
> Cc: freebsd-questions at
> On Wed, 12 Jul 2017 15:49:17 GMT, Anton Shterenlikht wrote:
> > I'm trying to use ports-mgmt/synth.
> > I get:
> > 
> > # synth build net/mpich
> > Error opening terminal: xterm.
> Is the "xterm" program installed on your machine?
> Yes, I know, stupid question, but might be relevant. ;-)

yes, it is, use it every day:

# pkg info -xo xterm
xterm-330                      x11/xterm

However, I never launch xterm as root,
because I don't allow root access to X:

# xterm
Warning: This program is an suid-root program or is being run by the root user.
The full text of the error or warning message cannot be safely formatted
in this environment. You may get a more descriptive message by running the
program as a non-root user or by removing the suid bit on the executable.
xterm: Xt error: Can't open display: %s
xterm: DISPLAY is not set

Again John told me this error has nothing to do with X anyway.

> > Anybody has a suggestion?
> Can you manually start xterm? From within an xterm (or
> whatever terminal emulator you are using)?

yes, sure.

> Maybe the port in question expects /usr/bin/xterm to be
> the executable ("hardcoded Linuxism")?

unlikely. ports-mgmt/synth was recently strongly
recommended by some experienced users in ports@
as a replacement of portmaster. So I guess this
must be a well behaved port.



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