All of the sudden gksu stopped working for me:

~$ gksu gparted

(gpartedbin:24252): Gtk-WARNING **: cannot open display: :0

The same happens with gparted-pkexec:

~$ gparted-pkexec 
No protocol specified

(gpartedbin:25454): Gtk-WARNING **: cannot open display: :0

What could possibly be causing this?

I am not running this through SSH or VNC. This is localhost in a normal terminal window.

  • You do not work in a graphical user interface or trying to run a program on a system (eg. via ssh) that no graphical interface provides. – A.B. Apr 26 '15 at 16:50
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    @A.B. I should clarify that this is not via ssh. It's on local host in a very normal terminal window. Infact opening gparted from the application menu has the same result. – d_inevitable Apr 26 '15 at 16:53
  • You shouldn't have to use gksu to run GParted. gparted uses polkit to get elevated privileges. – muru Apr 26 '15 at 16:59
  • @muru when I run gparted without gksu I get Root privileges are required for running gparted. – d_inevitable Apr 26 '15 at 17:17
  • Ok, try gparted-pkexec (without gksu) or gksu gpartedbin. – muru Apr 26 '15 at 17:39

If running Ubuntu 17.10 or newer, this issue can arise when an application has not been updated with full support for Wayland. As a workaround until the application is updated, you can run

xhost +SI:localuser:root

which will allow the root user to display applications on your desktop. Also see this Q&A for other possible workarounds: Why don't gksu/gksudo or launching a graphical application with sudo work with Wayland?


  • @MDMower Thx for editing, learned something new =)! – Cutton Eye Dec 15 '17 at 7:46
  • @pomsky Thx for adding the link ;)! – Cutton Eye Feb 26 '18 at 10:49
  • In 18.04 X-Org will be used again as default. So this problem should vanis then. see – Cutton Eye Mar 7 '18 at 13:25
  • Same problem occurred with Ubuntu 20 and this solved it. – Norbert Boros Sep 5 '20 at 7:16

Try running xhost +localhost in your terminal, and then running the command again. This lets all users on your system (i.e. root) open windows on your screen. Make sure to use +localhost and not simply +, as it's more secure to allow connections from only localhost than from anywhere.

To make this permanent, edit the ~/.xinitrc file like this:

Run gedit ~/.xinitrc

Edit the file to look like this (it should be empty at the start):

#! /bin/bash
xhost +localhost &

Now save the file, log out and log in. Now everything should run just fine with sudo.

I can't reproduce your problem on 14.04, but this has worked for me in the past when sudo / gksu threw this error.


  1. http://www.nikhef.nl/~mjg/xhost_plus.html
  2. https://forums.opensuse.org/showthread.php/405624-sudo-doesnt-open-X-programs
  3. https://wiki.ubuntu.com/CustomXSession
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    This does work indeed. So does that mean its an access control restriction? Any ideas what the cause of this could be? – d_inevitable Apr 27 '15 at 22:21
  • Yes, it's a security feature of X. It allows only connections from your user to the xserver until told otherwise, I think. I'm not super sure why it's required for some apps and not others, and I don't have a clue why it would be doing it for gparted of all things. Perhaps you were tinkering and tightened security somewhere? – Mark Paskal May 4 '15 at 0:16
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    This yields an error: xhost: unable to open display "" – IgorGanapolsky Jan 30 '17 at 18:33
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    On redis, it was suggested to use xhost +local:. After that I was able to launch gparted from the terminal, but using xhost +localhost didn't work. – rmin Sep 6 '17 at 1:40
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    Indeed! xhost +local: fixed mine! It yields non-network local connections being added to access control list which is what is needed. – lobner Nov 10 '17 at 8:16

Execute the following in your terminal:

nano /home/user/.bashrc # user = name of your user

Add the following line at the end.

export XAUTHORITY=$HOME/.Xauthority
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    Would be useful if you could add some explanation of how this solves the problem, and whether it has any adverse side effects? – Geoff Jan 1 '19 at 23:25

xhost + fixed my problem

but Be aware that xhost + completely deactivates authentication and allows everyone to access all application on your screen...

xhost +si:localuser:root seems to work similar with proper authentication


I solve it by simply running in the terminal ,

sudo gparted

Looks like GTK+ root password dialog confused with x server settings

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