So my workstation at work got rebooted and I'm currently not logged in physically there with a graphical session. I have ssh access to it, and I can start a new X windows session and use my graphical applications remotely. I was just wondering if there was a way to start the main desktop session remotely, so that I can then connect and interact with it and next time I get in front of the workstation, I can just pick up where I left off...
You can start a console GUI session remotely: run
Different distributions have adopted different mechanisms to control who can start an X session on the console. I believe that on RHEL this is done through systemd, but I don't know how.
If you start an X application on the console display, you won't be able to interact with it remotely. There are a few exceptions such as Emacs that are capable of connecting to multiple displays, but in general X applications open a connection to the X display when they start and never look back. You can use Xmove or Xpra to mediate between the X server and the application; an X application started inside Xmove or Xpra can be moved to a different X server (like detaching and attaching a screen session).
Another option once you've started the console X session would be to interact with it remotely. You can use X11vnc for that, and access the remote session with a VNC client.
I'd suggest a look at the following projects (although I kind of doubt that
(Something more direct might be possible (see this note of "startx over ssh"), but it the "picking up where I left part" will not work.)
Edit Something just crossed my mind -- if you use some desktop manager that supports auto-login (say, slim, nodm, gdm3, kdm); you should be able to start a session for one specific user on