I am currently trying to open a terminal in Linux from Mathematica in which the present working directory is given by the Directory[].

My naive attempt

RunProcess[{"gnome-terminal", "--working-directory=" <> Directory[]}]

does not seem to work and returns a standard error "error: XDG_RUNTIME_DIR not set in the environment". I am aware that this might not be a Mathematica specific problem but general answers regarding the same error message did nothelp me much so far.

  • $\begingroup$ if you have xterm you may be better off to just run that (or any other plain terminal). Gnome in general seems to just make simple things difficult. $\endgroup$
    – george2079
    Jan 15, 2018 at 17:28
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ FWIW, RunProcess[{"open", "-a", "Terminal"}] works on MacOS. $\endgroup$
    – C. E.
    Jan 15, 2018 at 17:31
  • $\begingroup$ Does RunProcess[$SystemShell, All, "gnome-terminal --working-directory=" <> Directory[]] work $\endgroup$ Jan 15, 2018 at 18:19
  • $\begingroup$ @SubaThomas Unfortunately, no. It seems that the problem is really system-dependent. $\endgroup$
    – Sungmin
    Jan 16, 2018 at 11:20

1 Answer 1


This works:

   RunProcess @ {$SystemShell,"-c",
      StringTemplate["gnome-terminal  -- /bin/bash -c 'cd `dir`; exec /bin/bash'"] @
        <|"dir" -> Directory[]|>}
  • $\begingroup$ I don't have gnome-terminal but xfce4-terminal. The solution seems to depend on the Linux-flavour. I found no environment variable telling me that xfce4-terminal is the right candidate. In other cases it will be gnome-terminal or something else. $TERM is not the right thing: 1st using it requires an operational bash and 2nd it returns xterm-256color in my case, which is only an indication that the virtual terminal is capable of colour output. $\endgroup$ Oct 16, 2021 at 10:44
  • $\begingroup$ One has to distinguish between RunProcess, which runs a process in a terminal but stops the Mma session until the started process is finished and StartProcess, which returns a ProcessObject. process = StartProcess @ {$SystemShell, "-c", "xfce4-terminal"} opens a terminal window. A subsequent WriteLine[process, "echo hello world"]; however does not write that to this terminal window as I would have expected, nor does it execute that command. - I want to run several programs and tee their output to a file parallel to showing it the terminal. Any idea? $\endgroup$ Oct 16, 2021 at 21:20

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