gnuplot plots nothing. Terminal type set to 'unknown'.

Computing 2010.04.14 01:48

The term 'terminal' in gnuplot means a medium on which it draws graphs. If your gnuplot gives error message like :

shawn.deltabellun:~$ gnuplot

    G N U P L O T
    Version 4.2 patchlevel 4
    last modified Sep 2008
    System: Darwin 10.3.0

    Copyright (C) 1986 - 1993, 1998, 2004, 2007, 2008
    Thomas Williams, Colin Kelley and many others

    Type `help` to access the on-line reference manual.
    The gnuplot FAQ is available from

    Send bug reports and suggestions to <>

Terminal type set to 'unknown'

It means that it could not find available terminal on your system. BTW, you can check the list of terminals by typing "set terminal" or "help terminal".

Once you got this message, you should doubt whether your installation went wrong, especially when you are installing gnuplot by COMPILING it.

My environment :
    OS: OSX 10.6.3
    X : XQuartz 2.5.0 (
    gnuplot : 4.2.4

The configure script of gnuplot 4.2.4 can't seem to locate X11 library. I had to give the location of X11 library to the configure script as following :

./configure --with-readline=/usr/local/lib --x-libraries=/usr/X11/lib/ --x-includes=/usr/X11/include/ CFLAGS=-I/usr/local/include LDFLAGS='-L/usr/local/lib -L/usr/X11/lib'

If the configure script recognizes your X11 libraries, it should give these messages while configuring :

checking for PDF_get_majorversion in -lpdf... no
checking for multi-byte support in x11... checking for XmbDrawString in -lX11... yes
checking for g++... g++
  Standalone terminals: yes (always builtin)
    (aed512, aed767, aifm, bitgraph, cgm, corel, dumb, dxf, eepic, emf, emtex,
    epslatex, epson_180dpi, epson_60dpi, epson_lx800, fig, gpic, hp2623A,
    hp2648, hp500c, hpdj, hpgl, hpljii, hppj, imagen, kc_tek40xx, km_tek40xx,
    latex, metafont, metapost, mif, pbm, postscript, pslatex, nec_cp6, okidata,
    pcl5, pstex, pstricks, qms, regis, selanar, svg, starc, tandy_60dpi,
    tek40xx, tek410x, texdraw, tgif, tkcanvas, tpic, vttek)
  x11/xlib terminal: yes (with mouse support)
    (with multi-byte fonts)
    (with binary polygon protocol (EXPERIMENTAL))
  jpeg terminal: no (requires libgd with jpeg support)
  gif terminal: no (requires libgd with gif support)

After you have compiled with configure options shown above, you would read "Terminal type set to 'x11'" when you start gnuplot.

BTW, It was just fine with OSX 10.5. No "no Xlib" problem. It may be the problem of OSX or XQuartz 2.5 (released Mar. 29, 2010)

good luck.

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  1. BlogIcon whiterock 2010.04.14 15:08 신고 Modify/Delete Reply

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