I am using Raspbian Jessie lite to try and create a lightweight kiosk browser with kweb and matchbox window manager, however when I try and run matchbox-window-manger it returns

matchbox: can't open display! check your DISPLAY variable!

This is a clean install and when I tried it previously it worked, can anyone help me to open matchbox?

  • So, what's in the DISPLAY variable? Do you have an X11 server running? How are you logged in? Commented Apr 22, 2020 at 7:34

1 Answer 1


The window manager requires an Xorg server running, which creates a GUI display where windows can be managed.

First, the -lite image does not include this GUI server software, although if you have installed a window manager it probably has been pulled in as a prerequisite. More on that at the end.

Create a file in the $HOME of the user running the kiosk called .xinitrc like this:



I'm presuming here the last line is the actual command you've been trying; if not use whatever that is.

This file may already exist if it is user pi. If so just rename it to save a backup copy and create a new one.

The file should be created by the user, or else the ownership changed to match.

I think execute permissions are required on this, so then:

chmod a+x .xinitrc

Now as that user run startx. If you get "command not found" sudo apt install xinit. If it still does not work leave a comment.

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