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Most easily explained with an example.

On my windows machine in cygwin I start the x server with:

matthew@cygwin $ startxwin

Then I ssh to my linux mint machine with X forwarding

matthew@cygwin $ ssh -Y mint-server

Then I want to start cinnamon

matthew@mint-server $ cinnamon

It then takes a really long time to start up because it's trying to forward my screen at 1080p. I'm hoping I can improve performance a lot by forcing the resolution lower (640x480) since I just need to some very basic things in the gui and 640x480 would be enough for me.

So, where can I set the resolution of fullscreen applications through the x server?

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Perhaps running the X server in Windowed mode limited to the size you want:

startx -- -screen 0 640x480

From the man page for startx, options for the X server are introduced by --, and from the man page for xwin, it has the -screen option for setting the size of the X screen.

But I am somewhat doubtful that this will make anything any faster.

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