I am trying to create a .desktop file for the calcurse ncurses calendar application:

[Desktop Entry]
Comment=an ncurses calendar
Exec=lxterminal -e calcurse

Problem: The only thing that happens when I click the menu entry is that I am presented with an empty terminal, no calcurse anywhere. Having Exec=calcurse produces the same result.

Issuing lxterminal -e calcurse from within a terminal does launch a new terminal window with the calcurse application running as expected.

How should I configure my .desktop file for it to launch the ncurses application instead of just an empty terminal?

  • I think you should simply have "Exec=calcurse". The "Terminal=true" line instructs whoever handles this .desktop file to launch it within your preferred terminal emulator.
    – egmont
    Commented Apr 20, 2016 at 19:28
  • Thanks for the idea! Tried it but it did not work. Have updated my question.
    – fuumind
    Commented Apr 20, 2016 at 19:55
  • Could you please also state which graphical environment (e.g. Gnome Shell, Unity, KDE, ...) are you using?
    – egmont
    Commented Apr 20, 2016 at 21:15
  • What happens if you replace calcurse with yes? Do you get a terminal with y repeating endlessly? If so then the terminal tries to start up calcurse (the .desktop file infrastructure is working as expected), and it might be something not properly initialized for calcurse to run. My first guess would be the TERM variable, try having Exec=env TERM=xterm calcurse (yes, all this as a single line) and see if it works.
    – egmont
    Commented Apr 20, 2016 at 21:17
  • Having any of Exec=calcurse, Exec=yes or Exec=env TERM=xterm calcurse produce an empty lxterminal window. Issuing env | grep TERM produces TERM=xterm, both from xterm and lxterminal
    – fuumind
    Commented Apr 21, 2016 at 6:19

1 Answer 1


It seems there is nothing wrong with the .desktop file. Hence there must have been something wrong with my setup of Lubuntu. After switching to a clean install of Devuan everything works as expected.

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