Fixing the rdesktop "black pointer" problem

– for CentOS and Ubuntu, the solutions below have been tested and are known to work.


The CATS group mostly uses rdesktop on CentOS workstations in the MAE department. The best solution for these machines is the one provided by Andrey Klochko, the MAE sysadmin. Here are his instructions:

  1. Go to and follow the instructions on how to add the maecfd repository.
  2. Do "yum install rdesktop".

These rdesktop rpms are packaged for RHEL/CentOS 5. If anyone uses a different rpm-based system, please let Andrey know.


There is a handy package you can install after first adding a PPA. Enter the following commands:

sudo apt-add-repository ppa:otto-kesselgulasch/testbildtest
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install rdesktop

Here are links to the fix for Ubuntu and the archive containing the solution.


On other Linux systems, fixing this bug involves a number of manual steps, with no guarantee of good results. Furthermore, the resulting rdesktop will no longer be under the control of your package manager. If you'd like to proceed anyway...

First, download the .tgz file from this location. Expand it with "tar xvfz". In the new directory, type "./configure", then "make". Look somewhere within the new directory for rdesktop.

Next, see if this client works correctly when you start it with "./rdesktop -g 1024x768". If you like what you see, you can replace your existing one by typing "make install". The tsclient front end should then pick up the new binary whenever you use it.

Here is a basic reference on this bug, with comments on how to fix it.

Last updated on 3/31/11 by Steve Lantz (slantz ~at~