I'm having a weird problem on Ubuntu 18.04 (Desktop) where certain commands don't display output to the terminal when they are run when they definitely should. I can still capture the output of the command using, e.g., xclip. The two commands I'm having this issue for is systemctl and git branch (but nothing else git-related). I can't figure out what the link is between these two, and I haven't spotted anything else that does this.

For example, if I run:

systemctl status cron

I don't get output, but if I run:

systemctl status cron | xclip -selection clipboard

then the status of the cron service is available on my clipboard, as expected.

This happens on both GNOME's terminal and the standard TTY.

  • did you play with any environment? Try systemctl --no-pager status cron option. I am guessing broken $PAGER/$TERM. You can also run set -x before one of that command and see what happens when you running such command.
    – Alexander
    Commented Sep 20, 2018 at 8:28
  • A broken $PAGER was the issue I think - thanks! $PAGER wasn't set to anything, so I set it to less and everything seems to be back to normal. :) Commented Sep 20, 2018 at 8:46

1 Answer 1


As Sam, proved in comments, solution was check/reset $PAGER variable.

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