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While trying to follow these instructions, I encountered the following error while attempting what seems like a simple sudo edit operation:

$  sudo gedit /var/lib/dpkg/status

** (gedit:14898): WARNING **: Command line `dbus-launch --autolaunch=0bd873023a78bdb34ca1b9650000000b --binary-syntax --close-stderr' exited with non-zero exit status 1: Autolaunch error: X11 initialization failed.\n
Cannot open display: 
Run 'gedit --help' to see a full list of available command line options.

Running the same without sudo correctly launches gedit, but of course without editing ability. Does anyone have any idea what is going on?

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A quick workaround would be to use a console-based editor such as nano or vim, which should work without complications. I'm unsure what is causing the error - I had assumed DISPLAY was unset but testing this gives me a different error. – chronitis Nov 13 '12 at 13:30
And moral of the story is to stick with documentation from known sources such as – user25656 Nov 13 '12 at 14:15
@vasa1 how is that the moral of the story? Regardless of the merits of following random instructions from the internet, /var/lib/dpkg/status is a file which I should be able to edit with gedit, but currently cannot. Please, if you have a useful answer add it below. – Bill Cheatham Nov 14 '12 at 17:56
Hey, did you get a solution for this? Am having the same problem here. – Parto Feb 3 '14 at 8:43
Found a solution. Check this out – Parto Feb 3 '14 at 17:11

You should be using gksu to launch graphical things as root.

gksu gedit /var/lib/dpkg/status
share|improve this answer
Thanks, I hadn't heard of this. However, using this I get the error Cannot open display. I believe this is an error coming from gedit itself. – Bill Cheatham Nov 14 '12 at 17:58
@BillCheatham That doesn't tally with the situation. If running gedit from the same terminal works, gksu gedit should work. Anyway, try gksu gedit --display=:0 /var/lib/dpkg/status – Oli Nov 15 '12 at 0:58
Hmm.. I agree that it seems like it should, but it just doesn't. gedit opens gedit, gksu gedit gives an error! I think the problems run deeper than I first thought. Thanks for your help though. – Bill Cheatham Nov 15 '12 at 11:08

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