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xlaunch: Launch a process in the running X server


xlaunch is a small utility which allows the user to run a program in the current X session. It performs all of the little tasks needed to launch a program, as if it was launched from the menu inside a graphical environment. Specifically, it snarfs the values for necessary environmental variables, redirects the output of the program to /dev/null (errors to ~/.xsession-errors), forks the program and launches it as its own process group.

This program serves a similar function to nohup and detach. The only functional difference is that xlaunch will attempt to snarf variables necessary for an X program to run (e.g. $DISPLAY). In all honesty, if I had found these programs before writing xlaunch I probably wouldn't have bothered. So you are encouraged to use them if they fit your need.

Supported Systems

Development Status

Works for me. There are a few more things that need attention, and possibly a feature or two, but mostly it is ready to go.




  1. Download it
  2. Run ./configure
  3. Run make
  4. Run make install with appropriate permissions
  5. Copy contrib/xlaunch.bash_completion into /etc/bash_completion.d if you use bash_completion


None. Take a look at the output of xlaunch --help or the xlaunch manual page for relevant command options and usage information.