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Ethan Blanton elb at
Sun Jun 21 11:13:38 EDT 2009

David Chmelik spake unto us the following wisdom:
> Following is the display bug, which has been reported again this year,
> but I see no fix listed for.
> ----------------------------------------------------------------
> $ pidgin
> (pidgin:4199): Gdk-CRITICAL **: gdk_display_get_name: assertion `GDK_IS_DISPLAY (display)' failed
> Pidgin 2.5.6
> ** (pidgin:4199): WARNING **: cannot open display: unset
> ----------------------------------------------------------------
> It mainly happens when I run X/KDE as root and pidgin non-root.  Some
> people say not to run X as root, but I have used Unix/Linux 11 years
> and I am not going to: I would have to xterm login root most times,
> which is preposterous.  On LinuxQuestions someone said remove
> .Xauthority, but root always makes it.  I cannot figure out how I
> fixed this last time.  I am not on the mailing list but if you add a
> report to the bug database or want me to try anything, just write me
> back here or privately to my same user name as this e-address but at
> gmail, which I check more often.  Maybe within a couple weeks I will
> also check if the gmane group is this list.

This isn't a bug at all, it is expected and intended behavior.  Your
Pidgin simply does not know about your X display, and when you set
your DISPLAY it does not have permission to connect.

The people who tell you not to run X as root are absolutely correct,
and your reasoning as to why you should is "preposterous".  Log in as
your own user, start an xterm, and su to root if need be.  If you find
that you have to be root most of the time, you're doing something

Good system usage practice is outside of the scope of this mailing
list; I mention this only because it is the direct cause of the bug
you perceive in Pidgin.


The laws that forbid the carrying of arms are laws [that have no remedy
for evils].  They disarm only those who are neither inclined nor
determined to commit crimes.
		-- Cesare Beccaria, "On Crimes and Punishments", 1764
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