I access my machine via ssh with the -Y parameter. I have a local X server installed (XQuartz for Mac)

The remote server is a barebones command line only box.

What is the bare minimum I would need to install on the remote linux box to be able to run a GUI application?

As an example of the GUI apps I want to run, I would like to run Oracle SQLDeveloper and Eclipse. Potentially Firefox too.

I don't need a desktop, or window manager, or any associated tools, if I can help it.

  • Doesn't ssh -Y just work? What kind of error you get?
    – rudimeier
    Commented Sep 15, 2016 at 14:03
  • Sorry. Should have clarified. XQuartz and ssh -Y work fine. However, the remote linux box I am logging in to does not have any GUI packages installed. I would like know what is the least I need to install on it
    – Vihung
    Commented Sep 15, 2016 at 14:05
  • 1
    @Vihung are you saying then that you want to run these GUI programs on the remote server itself? I imaging the minimum you need is the base and sshd packages (base is always required, sshd gives you ssh)
    – Centimane
    Commented Sep 15, 2016 at 18:55

2 Answers 2


For your use-case you only need to install xauth (and its dependencies) on the distant machine, and the applications you want to run along with their dependencies. For example, for Eclipse you should only need a non-headless JDK and Eclipse itself.

You don't need a desktop environment or even a window manager, you'll end up using their equivalents on your local system (the machine running the X server).


The minimal I've been able to get away with is the xauth package and any of its dependencies. At that point, once the programs you want to run are installed with their dependencies, they should display to your local machine correctly.

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