I updated X11 by installing the most recent XQuartz package, 2.7.9. Now, when opening an application that is supported by X11 (e.g., emacs), my terminal throws an error (while X11 starts in the background):

[lap0988:~] user% emacs test.txt &
[1] 14071
[lap0988:~] user% Error: Couldn't find per display information

Needless to say, the application doesn't open. My hunch is that this has to do with the DISPLAY environment variable.

[lap0988:~] user% echo $DISPLAY

Has anyone come across the problem? Can you suggest a straightforward fix for this?

  • What is setting $DISPLAY ? – mmmmmm Jun 3 '16 at 12:23

I'm afraid you'll probably need to rebuild emacs. I expect that the one you have is looking for libraries that aren't there any more following the XQuartz update.

I had the exact same problem, and solved it with brew upgrade emacs --with-x11 --with-ctags --with-glib --with-gnutls. The relevant command-line for you will differ according to your choice of package manager and build options.


XQuartz 2.7.9 has multidimensional namespaces. Only a few libraries were patched. Not the ones for gnu emacs as I experienced.

Reinstalling 2.7.8 is the first step. The second is to remove the new X11 library that was installed by 2.7.9. In my case this was found at /opt/local/lib/X11 But be careful with this!

  • Actually the problem with 2.7.9 has disappeared after – CP Wirth Jun 4 '16 at 17:26
  • Actually the problem with XQuartz 2.7.9 disappeared after port install emacs +x11 – CP Wirth Jun 4 '16 at 17:28

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