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I am on Windows and I have a remote server with Ubuntu 10.10.

I want to use Firefox or other graphic browser on that remote server.

The problem is, the server's memory is only 512MB, so I can install larger desktop environment. I used to use XFCE and NoMachine NX, but they consume too much memory on that Ubuntu server.

The only thing I want to use is a graphic browser (for example firefox) on that server. Nothing else.

Do you have any good suggestions? Thanks a lot!

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closed as not constructive by Tom Wijsman, random Apr 26 '12 at 1:12

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If you just want to run firefox, do you need a desktop at all? You could just run firefox on its own over ssh and a local X server. –  Paul Apr 14 '12 at 9:23
    
HI Paul. I guess what you are talking about is what I am really looking for. I Just found this article: tjansson.dk/?p=163 Could you please refer other materials to me? Also, If I use your method, can I upload videos from that server to sites like youtube? The videos are on that server not my computer. Thanks a lot! –  Susan Mayer Apr 14 '12 at 10:06
    
Midori is pretty lean and fast. Comes by default on Slitaz linux which is a very lean distro. Midori is available on the Ubuntu repository. –  BJ292 Apr 14 '12 at 10:14

3 Answers 3

The link you posted provides what you need.

Xming is an X server that runs on Windows, and so can accept the output from graphical applications instead of to a local X server on the server itself.

When you do ssh -X hostname or use putty from Windows and enable X forwarding in the SSH options, the ssh session that is established has a "tunnel" created between the server and the Windows machine over which it pushes the graphic output from any processes that are run in that ssh session.

Once you are connected to the server, you should see the DISPLAY variable is pointing back to itself, but on a different port:

$ echo $DISPLAY
localhost:10.0

The 10 here corresponds to tcp port 6010 (usually), which we can see using netstat:

$ sudo netstat -pan | grep 6010
tcp        0      0 127.0.0.1:6010          0.0.0.0:*               LISTEN      6031/0

This shows us a local listener on port 6010, that is owned by process 6031 in this case:

$ ps auwx  | grep 6031
user    6031  0.0  0.1   9340  1960 ?        S    21:57   0:00 sshd: user@pts/0

And we can see that this is owned by the pts terminal created by the ssh session. This is all just background, but what it is saying is that any graphics will be sent to a port created by the ssh session and forwarded over the tunnel back to the calling machine. This is the Windows box, and it is running Xming, so will take receipt of the graphics session and display it locally.

Note that this is just graphics output. The process is still running on the server and any interactions it has are with the server, it is just the output from that process that is forwarded over the tunnel.

So if you then kick off firefox from the command line, its output will get displayed on the Windows machine.

So yes, when you do a file dialog in firefox, this is from the perspective of the server, not the Windows machine. So any uploads you want to do will be from the server filestore.

This way removes all of the overhead of the desktop environment, and just runs the application.

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The only correct answer if resources are an issue is not to use them if not needed. So +1 –  matthias krull Apr 14 '12 at 14:02

You can try debian, it is very lightweight and you can install icewheasel (firefox rebranded) in seconds. It also exists with xfce environment.

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Recently LXDE is convinced to be the most lightest Ubuntu variant http://lubuntu.net/

Another thing is Firefox consumes most resource not only on Linux but also on other os. Try Dillo instead. Not sure it is the lightest one but it's quite light :-)

http://www.dillo.org/

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