From my perspective:

[test1@localhost ~]$ putty

(putty:8996): Gtk-WARNING **: cannot open display:

Gtk-WARNINGs also appear while trying to open at least a few other applications. Those warnings also sometimes appear when I am root, but root has no problem opening applications.

I would understand if I was being stopped from performing instalations as a non-root, but here... no idea. I should be able to at least open putty as a non-root, right?

What is this problem caused by and how can I deal with it? (And what logs to share if you need more info?)

1 Answer 1


I do not believe these warnings are usually significant. As I understand it they are verbose complaints made by GTK for varied reasons --- I don't think they are application-specific warnings. A sample from my end if I launch Nautilus from my terminal:

(nautilus:26464): Gtk-WARNING **: Failed to register client: GDBus.Error:org.freedesktop.DBus.Error.ServiceUnknown: The name org.gnome.SessionManager was not provided by any .service files
** (nautilus:26464): WARNING **: Can't load fallback CSS resource: Failed to import: The resource at '/org/gnome/adwaita/gtk-fallback.css' does not exist
** (nautilus:26464): WARNING **: Can't load fallback CSS resource: Failed to import: The resource at '/org/gnome/adwaita/gtk-fallback.css' does not exist

and Nautilus opens fine without issue.

I see your error is "cannot open display" as opposed to my trivialities. If Putty is not opening at all with such an error message, I would start by checking on your graphical environment. You do have Xorg running when you try to run Putty, right? That would be the easiest scenario I can think of that would print such a message.

  • (Will give as much info as I can because the info I found online on how to check if xorg is running -- I am not sure if I used the commands correctly.) 1. I am in the terminal of graphic environment in GNOME. 2. Here are the result the commands on xorg-checking which I found (not sure if applied correctly): i.imgur.com/WVuEgYH.png (Now that I look at that command response... the xorg's state does not look promising.) Did I answer your question, or should I try other command to check if xorg is running? Oct 17, 2014 at 17:36
  • So sorry! Still new here, so I forgot to check back in. Anyway, that looks like gnome-terminal to me and you mentioned that you're running GNOME so consider my question answered. Don't mind me. I think my next question (bear with me until someone smarter than I intervenes) will be whether or not you can run Putty from the graphical menu? If you are running legacy GNOME the applications menu should be easily visible; new GNOME does the graphical shenanigans that I can't convey very well.
    – Kalvin Lee
    Oct 22, 2014 at 9:28

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.