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Manual Reference Pages  -  XCMD (1)


xcmd - front-end for starting programs under X11


     Find Options
     Terminal Window Options
     Find Options
     Terminal Window Options
See Also


(1) xcmd --help

(2) xcmd [--display display] [find-options] --xcmd command

(3) xcmd [--display display] [find-options] [term-options] --cmd command

    Find Options

--find-class window-class
--find-resource window-resource
--find-substr title-substring
--find-title window-title
{--iconify-and-raise | --only-raise}

    Terminal Window Options

--title window-title
--icon icon-title
--name window-resource
--geometry window-geometry
--opt additional-options
{--scroll | +scroll}
{--rxvt | --xterm}


Xcmd is a front-end for starting programs under X11. You can tell xcmd to look for a window with a specific class, resource name, or title string (using the --find-property options); if it finds one or more, xcmd will ‘raise’ them, otherwise it will run the command you specify. You can tell xcmd to run commands that create their own windows (using --xcmd), or to run commands inside a terminal window (using --cmd) with various options.


-h or --help
  Display version information and a summary of command syntax.
-d or --display display
  This option allows you to specify the server to connect to; see X(3x).
-c or --cmd command
  Run command in a terminal window (see Terminal Window Options below). If you use one of the --find-property options, xcmd only runs command if it can’t find a window with that property.
-x or --xcmd command
  Run command, with the expectation that it will create its own window. If you use one of the --find-property options, xcmd only runs command if it can’t find a window with that property.

    Find Options

The following options tell xcmd to search the display for a window that has the specified property. If xcmd finds one or more such windows, it raises them to the top of the display. These options are mutually exclusive.
-fc or --find-class window-class
  Find windows whose class matches window-class exactly.
-fr or --find-resource window-resource
  Find windows whose resource name matches window-resource exactly.
-fs or --find-substr title-substring
  Find windows whose title contains the string title-substring.
-ft or --find-title window-title
  Find windows whose title matches window-title exactly.
-ir or --iconify-and-raise
  When xcmd finds a window, first iconify it, then raise it; this ‘flashes’ a little, but it works reliably under FVWM with different X server loads. It doesn’t work reliably with WindowMaker.
-or or --only-raise
  When xcmd finds a window, just raise it. This doesn’t ‘flash’, but it also doesn’t always work with FVWM. It does work reliably with WindowMaker, as long as the window is in the current workspace. This is the default.

    Terminal Window Options

The following options control the appearance of the terminal window created when you run a command with --cmd. Xcmd gives an error if you use any of these options without using --cmd.
-t or --title window-title
  The title to give the terminal window. If you don’t specify this option, the title reverts to the resource name (see --name) if one is specified, otherwise it reverts to command.
-i or --icon icon-title
  The title to give to the terminal window when it’s iconified. If you don’t specify this option, the icon title reverts to the window title.
-n or --name window-resource
  The resource name to give the terminal window. If you don’t specify this option, it reverts to the default resource name for the terminal program (e.g., ‘xterm’ for xterm(1x)).
-g or --geometry window-geometry
  The geometry to use for the terminal window. If you don’t specify this option, it reverts to the default for the terminal program.
-o or --opt additional-options
  Additional options to pass to the terminal program; additional-options should be one argument---you may need to quote it using your favorite shell’s regular syntax.
-s/+s or --scroll/+scroll
  Use (--scroll) or don’t use (+scroll) a scrollbar in the terminal window. If you don’t specify either of these options, whether the terminal uses a scrollbar depends on its defaults and its X resource settings.
-rt/-xt or --rxvt/--xterm
  Use rxvt(1x) or xterm(1x) as the terminal program to run command in. Normally, xcmd uses the terminal program specified in the XCMD_TERM environment variable (see ENVIRONMENT below), or xterm(1x) if that variable is not set. These options override the default setting.


Here are some examples of how to use xcmd:
xcmd --cmd vi
  Run vi in a terminal window.
xcmd --cmd ’vi ~/.Xdefaults’
  Run vi in a terminal window and edit ~/.Xdefaults.
xcmd --find-resource ’Navigator’ --xcmd netscape
  Look for a Netscape window, or start one if none found.
xcmd --find-title ’Network Configurator’ --xcmd ’sudo netcfg’
  Look for a window titled Network Configurator; if none found, use sudo to start netcfg.
xcmd --find-title Mail --cmd pine --title Mail --name xMail +scroll
  Look for a window titled Mail; if none found, start pine in a terminal window titled Mail, with a resource name of xMail and no scrollbar. If the X resource *xMail*vt100.geometry: 80x40’ is set, for instance, the resulting window will be 80 columns wide by 40 lines high.


Xcmd uses an execl(3) call to run /bin/sh -c exec command, so that command inherits xcmd’s process ID. Xcmd runs in the foreground by default; use your favorite shell’s regular syntax to start xcmd in the background (e.g., xcmd --find-title vi --cmd vi &’ for Bourne-compatible shells).


  To get the default host and display number.
  To set the default terminal program to use with --cmd. Overridden by the command line.
  If set to ‘0’, ‘no’, or ‘false’, act as if the command-line option --only-raise was specified (this is the default if not set). If set to ‘1’, ‘yes’, or ‘true’, act as if the command-line option --iconify-and-raise was specified. Any other value produces an error message. XCMD_ICONIFY is overridden by the command line.


X(3x), rxvt(1x), xterm(1x), xwininfo(1x)


Jim Knoble <>

Xcmd is very loosely derived from portions of xwit by Mark Martin and David DiGiacomo and xwininfo by Mark Lillibridge. Almost none of the original code remains.

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Version 1.8 XCMD (1x) 1998-Jan-03

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