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I am on Ubuntu 14.04 and trying to get my head around ForwardX11 vs ForwardX11Trusted.

My default ssh_config contains the following lines:

#   ForwardX11 no
#   ForwardX11Trusted yes

Further, man ssh_config tells me that:

1.   command-line options
2.   user's configuration file (~/.ssh/config)
3.   system-wide configuration file (/etc/ssh/ssh_config)

and that ForwardX11.default == no and ForwardX11Trusted.default == yes.

Now my questions:

  1. I take it that 1. takes precedence over 2. over 3. None is specified, thus the default settings should be applied, i.e. ForwardX11Trusted == yes. If I SSH into a remote machine without the -Y or -X option, X11 forwarding does not work.

  2. If I specify -X, X11 forwarding works but it seems to be in trusted mode?

  3. If I set

    ForwardX11 no
    ForwardX11Trusted no

    in /etc/ssh/ssh_config, I can now choose the mode correctly with the -X and -Y command line options. But, while the forwarding causes roughly .5 MBit of traffic in -Y mode, it hogs 6-10 MBit in -X mode.

  4. If I explicitly set

    ForwardX11 yes

    SSH still ignores the ssh_config file. I still need to specify ssh -X [...].

  5. Why does SSH seem to ignore both the default settings and the config file?

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1 Answer 1

I found this page useful:

It basically answers your question #2:

If ForwardX11Trusted is set to “yes”, then the commands ssh -X and ssh -Y are functionally equivalent. If ForwardX11 and ForwardX11Trusted are both set to “yes”, then the command flags are not only equivalent, they’re unnecessary… that is

ssh user@host command = ssh -X user@host command = ssh -Y user@host command

If ForwardX11 is set to “yes” and ForwardX11Trusted is set to “no”, then

ssh user@host command = ssh -X user@host command =/= ssh -Y user@host command

Unfortunately, I have no insight on your other observations.

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