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I have installed Redshift on my computer, and it works fine with the command gtk-redshift However it won't start up automatically when using the same command in startup applications. How do I set it to automatically start?

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up vote 18 down vote accepted

There is a known bug #868904 that stops Redshift starting automatically in 11.10 due to geoclue conflicts on startup.

See Comment #17 on the bug report for a possible solution of setting the location permanently on start up.

1) Use or any other service to find your latitude/longitude

2) Adjust the startup command of redshift to: gtk-redshift -l <latitude>:<longitude>

Example of latitude/longitude of Amsterdam for redshift: gtk-redshift -l 52.37:4.9

It is reportedly fixed in the package 1.7-1ubuntu2 but the Launchpad homepage for the project lists only 1.7-0ubuntu1 built 35 weeks ago.

You could try downloading direct from their website to see if it fixes the issue with a later version.

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would it start if I used the GNOME-clock method? – Dandyman Mar 10 '12 at 21:11
I'm not sure, you could try it but the steps outlined above apparently work.. – Mark Rooney Mar 10 '12 at 21:17
I've now tried it with both the gnome-clock and manual methods, and it won't start on either – Dandyman Mar 12 '12 at 18:54
Well if you have tried the method above and it does not work I'm out of suggestions. As I said this is a bug in Redshift so you may well just have to wait for it to be resolved by the Redshift developer. – Mark Rooney Mar 13 '12 at 20:38

Create a file named redshift.conf in ~/.config and add your co-ordinates to it. It should end up looking something like this:

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Add [redshift] at the top to make this config file work (see "info redshift") – Adversus Dec 29 '13 at 22:09
This worked for me with redshift-gtk v1.7 (set to autostart) on Trusty. – Arch Stanton Jan 14 at 1:01

I would suggest two ways:

  1. Using crontab
  2. Using upstart


Crontab is a program that is running all the time. It has a list with programs and scripts and the exact dates or intervals that they should run. Crontab is used a lot by system administrators for making backups and automating tasks.

To see the list with the programs you can type

crontab -l

To edit the list type

crontab -e

Add this line in the end, to boot redshift whenever computer starts up

@reboot export DISPLAY=:0.0 && /usr/bin/redshift -l 56.20:16.35

where 56.20:16.35 is the LATITUDE:LONGITUTE of your location. Save and reboot.


Upstart is a program that amongst other things, looks in specific folders at bootup for scripts to be run. So we can just add our program in there to have it run in every booutup. Upstart is more low-level than crontab and you need root privileges.

To add redshift you simply have to edit /etc/rc.local file. Add the path to redshift before the exit in the file or else it won't run. You can find the path by typing whereis redshift. The file should look similar to this:

#!/bin/sh -e
# rc.local
# This script is executed at the end of each multiuser runlevel.
# Make sure that the script will "exit 0" on success or any other
# value on error.
# In order to enable or disable this script just change the execution
# bits.
# By default this script does nothing.


exit 0

Save and reboot.

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On my Ubuntu 14.04, neither approach works. In particular with the crontab approach, I can see in syslog that the command is run, there is no error message, but the process is gone by the time login screen comes up. (That is, there is no visual effect of Redshift running, and after login I can confirm that there is indeed no redshift process running.) – Raphael Feb 8 at 18:34
This post suggests that both the approaches you propose are doomed to fail. Did you actually confirm that they work (in more than one setup)? For instance, I have checked that $DISPLAY is sometimes :0 and sometimes :0.0 for me, so how can I hardcode a value? – Raphael Feb 8 at 18:46

Antoher workaround (comment #53) is to install geoclue-hostip.

Even though on my setup (Ubuntu 13.04) the manual position workaround works, and I prefer it anyway because it allows me to indicate the location more precisely.

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Connect your computer to internet and run gtk-redshift in Terminal.

The output will be:

maez@maez:~$ gtk-redshift
Trying location provider `geoclue'...
Started Geoclue provider `Geoclue Master'.
Using provider `geoclue'.

** (process:3541): WARNING **: Could not get location, 3 retries left.

According to the geoclue provider we're at: 18.98, 72.83
Using method `randr'.

Once you get your Latitude and Longitude from above, Go ahead and Edit autostart config file for Redshift, which is found in "~/.config/autostart/"

maez@maez:~$ cd .config/autostart/
maez@maez:~/.config/autostart$ gedit redshift-gtk.desktop

In gedit window add "-l 18.98:72.83" next to "Exec=redshift-gtk"

[Desktop Entry]
Comment=Color temperature adjustment tool
Exec=redshift-gtk -l 18.98:72.83
GenericName=Color temperature adjustment

where 18.98:72.83 is your LATITUDE:LONGITUTE

Save this file and Reboot.

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