I want to copy a long file into clipboard with xsel,in my local pc ,just input:

cat /usr/bin/mysql_secure_installation|xsel -b

The file mysql_secure_installation located in my local os was copied into clipboard.

Now login to my vps with ssh command,then input

DISPLAY=:0 cat /usr/bin/mysql_secure_installation|xsel -b

I come across the error info:

xsel: Can't open display: (null)
: Inappropriate ioctl for device

I know that the proper way to get remote file is scp command:

scp -P port username@tohostname:/remotefile /newlocalfile

I just wonder how to get file content copied into clipboard after loginning my vps,copy file from remote machine to the clipboard of my local computer.

Same error:

DISPLAY=:0 xsel -b <  /usr/bin/mysql_secure_installation
xsel: Can't open display: (null)
: Connection refused
  • 1
    So you try to copy file from remote machine to the clipboard of your local computer, right? Feb 6 '20 at 10:15
  • 1
    try running it as DISPLAY=:0 xsel -b <foo or ... | DISPLAY=:0 xsel -b instead of DISPLAY=:0 cat ... | xsel -b which will only set the DISPLAY envvar for the cat process.
    – mosvy
    Feb 6 '20 at 11:39

Start your ssh connection with

ssh -X yourserver

then don't change the DISPLAY variable yourself. ssh should set it up automatically, so that xsel (and any other X11 clients) can use the display on your local computer -- including its clipboard. This is called X11 forwarding.

Manually setting DISPLAY=:0 in your ssh session will tell xsel to use the display on that remote server -- if one is even running.

  • I couldn't get this working. xsel: Can't open display: (null) : Inappropriate ioctl for device
    – Ryan
    Feb 7 '20 at 16:01
  • 1
    @Ryan What is the value of DISPLAY when you do this? If you enable debugging messages with ssh -v, does it including anything about X11 forwarding?
    – JigglyNaga
    Feb 7 '20 at 16:24
  • Interesting. I see debug1: No xauth program. Warning: untrusted X11 forwarding setup failed: xauth key data not generated
    – Ryan
    Feb 7 '20 at 17:54
  • Maybe you are talking about: stackoverflow.com/a/39556508/470749 (I will look at my client and server configs.) I'd also asked a question here: stackoverflow.com/q/60117294/470749
    – Ryan
    Feb 7 '20 at 17:56

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