gnome-terminal: There Was An Error Creating The Child Process For This Terminal

I am using CentOS 5 on my laptop. If I open gnome-terminal by right clicking the desktop, I am getting an error that read as follows:


There was an error creating the child process for this terminal

How do I fix this problem and open a terminal by right clicking the Debian / Ubuntu / CentOS / Fedora / RHEL / Red hat Enterprise Linux 5.x desktop system?

Tutorial details
DifficultyIntermediate (rss)
Root privilegesYes
RequirementsLinux and devpts
This problem is related to devpts (also known as Unix98 pty naming) file system. The devpts must be mounted on /dev/pts. Before opening the pseudo-terminal slave, you or the process must pass the master’s file descriptor. From the man page:

The file /dev/ptmx is a character file with major number 5 and minor number 2, usually of mode 0666 and of root.root. It is used to create a pseudo-terminal master and slave pair. When a process opens /dev/ptmx, it gets a file descriptor for a pseudo-terminal master (PTM), and a pseudo-terminal slave (PTS) device is created in the /dev/pts directory.

In order to solve your problem mount /dev/pts. This is required when opening a pseudo terminal. Edit /etc/fstab:
# vi /etc/fstab
Because /dev/pts is needed when , missing mounting point /dev/pts in file /etc/fstab will produce this error. Verify that ptsfs is mounted:
$ mount | grep pts
Sample outputs:

devpts on /dev/pts type devpts (rw,noexec,nosuid,gid=5,mode=620)

If devpts is not mounted, type the following command as root user to mount it:
# mount -t devpts devpts /dev/pts
Also, edit the file /etc/fstab, enter:
# vi /etc/fstab
Add the following line if no such line exists in /etc/fstab:

devpts           /dev/pts              devpts  gid=5,mode=620  0 0

Save and close the file. You can reboot the machine to test new changes.

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5 comments… add one
  • billnozick Jan 2, 2013 @ 22:44

    Ubuntu 12.10 Terminal Bug

    So this didn’t work for me, perhaps the edited file is styled more specficially than what I entered, with respect to tab delimited vs space delimited; it is difficult to tell which or if the delimiters are present or significant.


  • billnozick Jan 10, 2013 @ 21:03

    Anyone found a fix for this yet? The above is not working, interested to find a means to the cause

  • rodrigo Jun 10, 2013 @ 0:16

    how!!!!!!!!!!??????????? tipe the commmand if not opoeb the fking terminal???????

  • rodrigo Jun 10, 2013 @ 0:17

    what it costs … windows zero cost but problems like these

  • joeg Jul 8, 2013 @ 12:31

    Our bandaid fix was to change the user’s password through root. Some machines did require a reboot afterwards, but some did not.

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