After sshing (using putty with X11 enabled) into my virtual box VM, I tried to open an xterm window. However the following command:

xterm -sb 500

or even

/usr/bin/xterm -sb 500

returns the error:

xterm: No absolute path found for shell: 500

I cant seem to figure out what the error even means!


ls -la /usr/bin/xterm
-rwxr-xr-x 1 root root 450888 Sep 28  2012 /usr/bin/xterm

alias xterm
-bash: alias: xterm: not found

VERSION="12.10, Quantal Quetzal"
  • Not installed? What is the version of Linux and the output of ls -la /usr/bin/xterm? Dec 27, 2015 at 17:43

1 Answer 1


Perhaps you meant

xterm -sl 500

The -sb option uses no value.

The manual page for these options:

   -sb     This  option  indicates  that  some  number  of  lines that are
           scrolled off the top of the window should be saved and  that  a
           scrollbar  should  be  displayed  so  that  those  lines can be
           viewed.  This option may be turned on  and  off  from  the  "VT
           Options" menu.

and the -sl option:

   -sl number
           This option specifies the number of lines  to  save  that  have
           been  scrolled  off the top of the screen.  This corresponds to
           the saveLines resource.  The default is "64".
  • On putty: PuTTY X11 proxy: unable to connect to forwarded X server: Network error: Connection refused xterm: Xt error: Can't open display: localhost:10.0 On VM Console: XT error: Cant open Display! XT error: DISPLAY not set Dec 27, 2015 at 17:51
  • 1
    That's a different question, related to your X-forwarding. Dec 27, 2015 at 17:52
  • setup x11 forwarding in putty and the server you are trying to reach cat /etc/ssh/ssh_config
    – Ijaz Ahmad
    Dec 27, 2015 at 18:01
  • yeah options are set.. but it still does not work. Ill open up a new question. Dec 27, 2015 at 20:05

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