Configuration of XWindow Terminals

Basic Configuration

An Xwindow terminal server containing a SSH tunneling modul (like “StarNetSSH” of XWin32 or “ConnectivitySSH” of Exceed) starts during SSH login process a program to create a primary Xwindow. This programm called “xterm” must be found in the search path during login process.

Further XWindows

Call of xterm (with additional parameters if needed) followed by an ampersand character “&” at command-line of your primary window results in a further terminal window as follows:
xterm parameters &
Please consider that all windows and processes end if you are loged out unless process is started by a “nohup” command-line, like:
nohup process_call &
Screen messages (standard and error messages) are written into a file named “nohup.out” by default. Of course it is possible to redirect output into your own output files, e.g.:
nohup process_call 2> error_output.txt > standard_output.txt &

Further Configurations

Many features of xterm can be configured, as shown in the following example:
xterm -sb -ls -cr Black -ms Black -sl 20000 -bg LightBlue1 -fg black -fn 9x15bold -name kmuster@u115 -e “UNIX command”
All parameters excluding -ls are optional (and could be omitted) but useful. They define the following features:
-sb creats scroll bar on the left side of window which is movable if middle mouse key is pressed and scrolls content of the window up or down. This can also be done by combination of “Shift” and “PageUp” or “PageDn” cap resp.
-ls creates a login shell which is essential for correct use of XWindow.
-cr Black specifies color of keyboard cursor.
-ms Black specifies color of mouse cursor.
-fg black controls window background color
The parameter above are defined in gwdterm script by default.
-sl 20000 specifies lines of X window buffer size.
-bg LightBlue1 controls window background color.
-fn 9x15bold sets the font to a better readable font size.
Original font sets can be defined as follows (pay attention to quotation of font name!):
-fn '-adobe-*-*-r-*-*-17-*-100-*-*-*-*-*'
For listing of available fonts see below.
-name kmuster@u115 specifies the name of the window task at your task bar (if not overriden by an application software). This will be very comfortable in handling several logins to different hosts as different user (and/or privileges).
-e “UNIX command executes a command instantaneous after creation of Xwindow. This can be useful in running a window for one command only (e.g. top, htop).


An overview of all available colors is given here. Parameters of colors are:
-fg color foreground color (of characters)
-bg color background color of window
-ms color color of mouse cursor (= character background color will be inverted)
-cr color color of text cursor


You will get an overview at “” (operating system is FreeBSD a flavour of UNIX) or “” (operating system is Linux) calling xlsfonts at command prompt. This program lists more over 5000 available fonts incl. Cyrillic etc. Do you need a font with bigger characters than 9x15bold (e.g. you have a notebook with relatively small screen but very fine resolution) you can search for it by typing:
xlsfonts | grep -E ^'[0-9,a-z]' | more
ergo22, courb24, fg-25, or fg-30 will be a good choice. Some font families got systematic names like Courier:
courr = Courier regular
couro = Courier italics
courb = Courier bold

Program xfontsel shows an Xwindow with all available characters of the choosen font, e.g.:
xfontsel -pattern '-schumacher-clean-medium-r-normal–0-0-75-75-c-0-iso8859-15'
Please pay attention to the single quotation marks.

How to test your X connection

The easiest way to check if your X connection works is to start one of the following two programs:
xeyes & move your mouse … ;-)
xclock & displays a simple analog clock

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