I can connect to my universitys server, where I have a virtual machine running on Debian 8.3 (as far as I can see, no additional software is installed yet). I have admin rights and can install new software. Working with ssh isn't a problem. But besides using the shell I'd appreciate having a GUI (like when using RPD, x2go, etc.). I already read about VPS, would this do the job?

Is there an easy/fast way to get a working desktop GUI with ssh and using it remotely?

Thank you very much for your help in advance.

  • GUI applications would suffice, although the whole desktop would be preferable. I'm using PuTTY and Xming. Everything works fine till now with the approach presented bei @anantary
    – byteRider
    Commented Jan 30, 2016 at 0:50

1 Answer 1


Yes, using SSH X11-Redirection.

man ssh

has this to say about it:

-X Enables X11 forwarding. This can also be specified on a per-host basis in a configuration file.

X11 forwarding should be enabled with caution. Users with the ability to bypass file permissions on the remote host (for the user's X authorization database) can access the local X11 display through the forwarded connection. An attacker may then be able to perform activities such as keystroke monitoring.

For this reason, X11 forwarding is subjected to X11 SECURITY extension restrictions by default. Please refer to the ssh -Y option and the ForwardX11Trusted directive in ssh_config(5) for more information.

Try the following:

ssh -X yourusername@yourhostname xclock

If this works you can be sure that X11-Redirection works, given xclock is available in the system you're accessing via X11.

Now you can just replace xclock with the command for the program you actually want to run.

  • @drewbenn, thanks. I've edited the post accordingly.
    – jdsalaro
    Commented Jan 30, 2016 at 0:05
  • Thank you, that was exactly what I was looking for. As a note for Windows users: You need a PC X Window Server like Xming to display the apllication
    – byteRider
    Commented Jan 30, 2016 at 0:45
  • @byteRider I'm glad, please mark the question as answered.
    – jdsalaro
    Commented Jan 30, 2016 at 1:09

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