podman says Error: Can't open display: localhost:10.0 when I try to run xclock in a container with the command podman run -ti -e DISPLAY --rm -v ~/.Xauthority:/root/.Xauthority:Z localhost/xclockimage on a Fedora 29 computer.

Longer story

On my laptop running Ubuntu 18.10 I first logged in to another physical machine over ssh.

[erik@laptop ~]$ ssh -X testuser@server.example.com

The server is running Fedora 29 and my user testuser does not have sudo permissions. I then built a container image for the xclock application with the build tool buildah and a Dockerfile.

[testuser@server ~]$ cd ~/test
[testuser@server test]$ cat Dockerfile
FROM fedora

RUN yum -y update
RUN yum -y install xorg-x11-apps && yum clean all

CMD [ "/usr/bin/xclock" ]
[testuser@server test]$ buildah bud -t xclockimage .

but when I try to run it, podman fails with the error message Error: Can't open display: localhost:10.0

[testuser@server ~]$ podman run -ti -e DISPLAY --rm  -v 
~/.Xauthority:/root/.Xauthority:Z  localhost/xclockimage  
Error: Can't open display: localhost:10.0
[testuser@server ~]$ 

Some more information

[testuser@server ~]$ cat /etc/fedora-release 
Fedora release 29 (Twenty Nine)
[testuser@server ~]$ podman --version
podman version 1.0.0
[testuser@server ~]$ sestatus
SELinux status:                 enabled
SELinuxfs mount:                /sys/fs/selinux
SELinux root directory:         /etc/selinux
Loaded policy name:             targeted
Current mode:                   enforcing
Mode from config file:          enforcing
Policy MLS status:              enabled
Policy deny_unknown status:     allowed
Memory protection checking:     actual (secure)
Max kernel policy version:      31
[testuser@server ~]$ 

(No changes have been made to the SELINUX settings of the server since it was installed)

How do I run an X11 graphical (GUI) application with podman?

2 Answers 2


Add --net=host to the command line

[testuser@server ~]$ podman run -ti -e DISPLAY --rm -v 
~/.Xauthority:/root/.Xauthority:Z --net=host localhost/xclockimage

After this change it started to work.


When using ubuntu:20.04

I found that -u 0 will solve the problem for podman, and -u $UID for docker.

$podman run -it -u 0 -e DISPLAY="$DISPLAY" -v /tmp/.X11-unix:/tmp/.X11-unix:rw podman-image xclock

$docker run -it -u $UID -e DISPLAY="$DISPLAY" -v /tmp/.X11-unix:/tmp/.X11-unix:rw docker-image xclock

On the docker file install x11-apps

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