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My lab runs a Ubuntu cluster, and in general I interact with it on my personal Macbook using SSH. Recently I've been going beyond the command line and have been experimenting with getting graphical functionality using X11. Most things work just fine via the SSH -X or -Y commands, but a few things definitely do not.

Specifically, PyMol, which is a visualizer for molecular structures, does not work at all. When I try to load it using

ssh -X cluster pymol


ssh -Y cluster pymol

I get the following error:

Warning: No xauth data; using fake authentication data for X11 forwarding.
Xlib: extension "Generic Event Extension" missing on display "localhost:11.0".
freeglut (pymol): ERROR: Internal error "Visual with necessary capabilities not found" in function fgOpenWindow

PyMOL: abrupt program termination.
X Error of failed request: BadWindow (invalid Window parameter)
Major opcode of failed request: 4 (X_DestroyWindow)
Resource id in failed request: 0x0
Serial number of failed request: 19
Current serial number in output stream: 22

The Macbook is a little old, and uses a GMA 950 for graphics. What's causing the above error, and is there anything I can do about it?

share|improve this question

Does "glxgears" exist on the system and run over ssh?

I had a similar problem and solved it like so:

glxgears # crash
sudo apt-get install mesa-utils
LIBGL_ALWAYS_INDIRECT=1 glxgears # works

Add this to .bash_profile:

share|improve this answer
where is .bash_profile? – tel Oct 26 '10 at 20:05
In more general terms, you'll want to add the environment variable "LIBGL_ALWAYS_INDIRECT" to your login script. The syntax and file are a function of your shell and OS. – user31752 Oct 26 '10 at 21:34
waaaaait a minute... the above solution works, but it also turns off all hardware acceleration. Considering the fact that my laptop can render opengl, and the fact that the cluster has at least some kind of graphics card on the main node, even if it doesn't have a monitor, there has to be a better way to do this, right? – tel Oct 28 '10 at 19:58

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