Windows 10 Anniversary Update contains a Linux subsystem. I am in need of working in a Linux environment so I began looking into this subsystem. So far, I have been able to install all the needed applications. I successfully installed gnuplot and it runs just fine. However, I cannot set term to x11, and therefore I cannot plot anything to display. Following is the error:

Terminal type set to 'qt'
gnuplot> set term x11
Terminal type set to 'x11'
Options are ' nopersist enhanced'
gnuplot: unable to open display ''
gnuplot: X11 aborted.

I tried installing Xming onto the same directory as the Bash program lies in Windows, but no luck. I really need gnuplot, and even though I can install it on Windows, it would be much more convenient to have it on the Linux subsystem.

How can I fix this display/x11(forwarding) issue?


(1) Install Xming. (2) execute export DISPLAY=:0 nameOfProgram (for example export DISPLAY=:0 gnuplot


Another (open source!) x server is VcXsrv. You can enable ANY graphical application (not only gnuplot) for WSL.

In summary:

  • install VcXsrv (https://sourceforge.net/projects/vcxsrv/)
  • launch xlaunch.exe (e.g. in "C:\Program Files\VcXsrv\xlaunch.exe"). You should pay extra attention to the following options during configuration:
    • set "Multiple Windows" (will make windows appear like you're used to)
    • add "-ac" to the "Additional parameters for VcXsrv" (will make the x server accessible for your WSL)
    • at the end, save the configuration file to your start-up applications (%appdata%\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup)
  • add "export DISPLAY=localhost:0.0" to the end of your "~/.bashrc"

If you would further like to run e.g. 'gnuplot -p script', you should set the XDG_RUNTIME_DIR environment variable for the corresponding temporary storage. Add

export XDG_RUNTIME_DIR=/tmp/an/appropriate/dir
export RUNLEVEL=3

to your ~/.bashrc, where "an/appropriate/dir" can be something like "runtime-" + your user name.


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