I have a SLED 10 host machine and I am using a SLES 10 VM via ssh -X.

When I start firefox in my VM using firefox & then it runs the firefox which is installed in the VM. So that's fine.

However, if my host machine's firefox is running, and then I start VM's firefox, then instead of starting its own, a new session of host's firefox starts running.

Same happens the opposite way also, if VM's firefox is running then I am not able to start host's firefox.


Because for some reason, the firefox devs have decided that is a good idea. In fact, they are so sure this is a feature and not a bug, they have even provided an option to disable it. Try running

firefox -no-remote

That should cause a new instance to be started on the remote machine. For (a tiny bit of) more info, try firefox -h:

-no-remote         Do not accept or send remote commands; implies -new-instance.
-new-instance      Open new instance, not a new window in running instance.

This had me completely baffled for a while and I still don't understand why (or, for that matter, how) they do this.

  • Thanks! it helped. I never knew my question had so many duplicates, I thought there must be some problem with my versions of firefox ('cos I am using very old versions) – Don't You Worry Child Dec 10 '13 at 4:55

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