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I am trying to ssh with X11 forwarding into a host where I don't have a home directory. Because of that, xauth fails and X11 doesn't seem to work. I tried to specify a home-directory in advance but I guess it doesn't export env-vars to the host.

zeyer@demeter:~> HOME=/tmp ssh ares -XY
Warning: No xauth data; using fake authentication data for X11 forwarding.
Last login: Mon Mar 28 11:52:57 2011 from
Have a lot of fun...
Could not chdir to home directory /home/zeyer: No such file or directory
/usr/bin/xauth:  error in locking authority file /home/zeyer/.Xauthority

Is there any trick I can make the X11 forwarding work? I still have write access to /tmp. But I am not sure how to setup the xauth fake authentication data manually.

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Surely you should be asking yourself (or even the system admin) why you don't have a home directory... – Majenko Mar 28 '11 at 10:04
@Matt: I didn't needed one so far on that PC and for some reason it hasn't mounted our NFS home. But now I need to test some application on it. – Albert Mar 28 '11 at 10:10
Xauth-without-$HOME can be set up by writing a special /etc/ssh/sshrc script, but requires root privileges. – grawity Aug 28 '12 at 10:59

Did you try ssh ares -XY "HOME=/tmp bash"?

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