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Atmospheric Administration
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Getting started with Ferret on a PC

Getting started with Ferret on a PC


I installed Ferret on my machine, but when I try to run Ferret, I see error messages about the X server and setting the DISPLAY variable.


  • Ferret uses X windows to display graphics. You need X server software running on your machine to use the interactive graphics in Ferret. The Installation instructions on the Ferret Downloads pages discusses X-Windows software. There isan FAQ, "What is suitable X windows Software for my PC to run Ferret?" which contains a link to lists of software that will work.

    Also see the FAQ, "What kind of X Windows environment do I need to run Ferret?" for more information.

    It is possible to run Ferret without X-server software, and to produce gif images, as described in the Ferret Users' Guide. See "GIF images, -gif command line switch" in the index. We strongly recommend however that you use X-windows software for the full interactive capabilities of Ferret.

  • Once you have Ferret and the X-server software on your PC, the Ferret installation guide has a step describing how you must set your DISPLAY variable:
    • Make sure you have started your X server. Set up your DISPLAY environment variable. This tells Ferret the location of the X server. If you are running X on the same machine as Ferret, type the following:

      setenv DISPLAY :0.0; export DISPLAY

  • Finally, once you have Ferret running, please take advantage of the documentation, search-able archives, and Email users group on the Ferret web pages which are an invaluable resource. You can search the mail archive for answers to your questions. Submitting questions to the Users Group is the best way to get help as you learn the details of running Ferret.