On my desktop I use the hbrid color scheme in vim, with the preferred colors set for my consoles 16-color palette (as described in the README).

However, on my laptop, I use the solarized color scheme, so when I SSH into my desktop from my laptop and open VIM it will look funny using the hybrid colors.

Is there any way I can 'forward' a vim configuration to set the colors when SSHing into a different machine? (Assume the colorscheme file is already installed, and all that needs to be done is call colorscheme solarized)


You can access environment variables in your vimrc using $NAME. ssh sets the environment variable SSH_CONNECTION within an SSH session to non-empty metadata about the connection. You can combine these two to run configuration code based on whether you're accessing vim over SSH or not:

    colorscheme solarized

The body of the if runs when SSH_CONNECTION is non-empty, so if you put this into your desktop's .vimrc then you'll get the solarized theme over SSH, and whatever you configured earlier the rest of the time.

  • Thanks Michael! Good solution, this works well for when I only have two color configurations. But lets say I have another machine that uses a different terminal color scheme that I want to enable when SSHing into my desktop. I see the SSH_CONNECTION identifies the client. But only the local IP. perhaps there is a way to pass some kind of identifying information with the SSH connection? Jul 15 '14 at 8:05
  • I could enable AcceptEnv in sshd on my desktop. But I was hoping to be able to use this kind of setup for other machines where I may not be able to configure /etc/ssh/sshd_config Jul 15 '14 at 8:11
  • There is a -o SendEnv=VARNAME option you can use to pass a local variable to the destination, which must be enabled on the server. Alternatively, ssh -t hostname env VAR=value bash -i will set the VAR variable and run a login shell. TERM is also passed through by default, but it takes some work to store something useful there. Jul 15 '14 at 8:13
  • Brilliant! Solves a problem that's annoyed me for a while Jun 14 '19 at 13:26

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