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When I'm logged on to another host (e.g via ssh), how do I connect to the XServer of that machine (same user is logged in and is running a desktop (gnome))?

You may ask way I wish to do that: There are commands that don't open an X-Window, e.g. xinput, xhost, etc.. and there are situations where you want to run them from remote.

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You will need to set your display environment variable in the ssh session. Most likely, the X server is running on display 0. So in the ssh session (assuming a Bourne-like shell), type:

export DISPLAY=localhost:0

You should see the clock on the remote X server display.

Note: this should "just work" if your ssh session is logged in as the same user that started the desktop session on the X server. If you are logged in as a different user, you may need to obtain the xauth cookie from the desktop session's user account.

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This did not work for me. However, export DISPLAY=:0 is working fine. I think, the Xserver does not listen to TCP connections by default (Ubuntu 10.04). Without the localhost a unix socket is used. – IanH Jul 31 '10 at 16:56
up vote 3 down vote accepted

I found the problem. Setting DISPLAY manually to localhost:0 is not working, because the XServer does not listen to TCP connections (default Ubuntu 10.04 configuration).

However, setting

export DISPLAY=:0

does the trick.

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If you are using the command line ssh, and assuming you are using Linux:

ssh -X host

Then try something like:


And you should see a clock but it is being ran on the remote computer.

Note: This will only work if x forwarding is turned on in the sshd config file.

Of course this is just a quick overview - can you post more info like what OS you have and what SSH client you are using?

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Sorry, but I don't need X11 forwarding. If I would ran ssh with X11 forwarding and I enter xinput, I 'll get the list of the x-input-devices of my LOCAL computer, but I want to get the ones from the remote. – IanH Jul 31 '10 at 14:42

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