Linux mint is running on a machine at my home. I have some gui applications open on it.

I'm away from home but want to get at the open applications. I have cygwin/x and I know how to ssh -X homecomputer, and I could run gui applications from there, but I want to get at the windows that are already open on the local display.

Is there a way to attach to the existing x session on linux without using extra software like VNC?


  • just curious, do you have a static IP for your home connection, which enables you to do this? i don't think i can see my home computer from the outside
    – amphibient
    Commented Nov 9, 2012 at 16:53
  • @foampile - My machine is always on so the IP address stays the same for the most part, and I set up port forwarding on my router so I can get into it.
    – Matthew
    Commented Nov 9, 2012 at 17:03
  • 1
    @foampile Look into dyndns.com (ignore the paid 'products' and just register an account at 'Sign In'). With that you can keep the same (free) DNS name even when your IP changes. Many routers support it, and if they don't I'm sure there's something you can have you machine do.
    – ams
    Commented Nov 9, 2012 at 17:25
  • So, what solution have you ended up using?
    – einpoklum
    Commented Jan 29, 2016 at 18:22
  • 1
    @einpoklum I couldn't find anything without using extra software; ended up just using vnc.
    – Matthew
    Commented Jan 29, 2016 at 22:15

3 Answers 3


You can run both a VNC server and VNC viewer on the home computer, X-forwarding the VNC viewer through the SSH connection. It's VNC, but you don't need any additional software on the Cygwin/X side and everything is still secured over SSH:

cygwin$ ssh -X home
home$ x11vnc -display :0 &
home$ xtightvncviewer localhost:0
  • 1
    though that will work, it will much more usable if you run the vnc client on the other computer, using ssh port-forwarding for the vnc port. (see also vino as an alternative to x11vnc which might even be enabled by default on mint). Commented Nov 9, 2012 at 20:40

This is similar to, though not an exact duplicate of, question 11623. Moving applications between X displays is possible; have a look at xmove, guievict, or xpra.


This can be done with x11clone:

windows$ ssh -X home
home$ x11clone :0

x11clone is available from https://github.com/x11clone/x11clone .


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