I'm sshing into my friend's machine and I'm wondering how I would launch a GNOME session over SSH. I need to open a web browser on his machine to view something which can only be done from his hostname. What's the easiest way to achieve this via SSH?

6 Answers 6


Switch to a second terminal, for example tty2: CtrlAlt-F2, login and start a new X session on an available display:

xinit -- :1

Now ssh to the other machine, enabling X forwarding (or trusted X forwarding with -Y):

ssh -X user@machine

Once logged in, start a new gnome-session:


You can also pass gnome-session as a command to ssh.


If all you need to do is run a web session, appearing to come from your friend's computer, I'd suggest just running OpenSSH with the ssh -D8888 argument (8888 is just an example), and set up your local browser to point to localhost:8888 as a SOCKS5 proxy.

If you must run a browser over the link, there's no reason why you need to start up an entire GNOME session, just run ssh -X as described in the other questions, and then run the browser alone.


To launch gnome from terminal use the command startx.

  • 2
    Nope. .xinitrc has to be set up for that,
    – RichieHH
    Commented Jan 5, 2020 at 22:07

You can use ssh -X or ssh -Y to his machine to run apps on your friend's machine but using your Xorg. The web browser will still be making the connection from his hostname.


In Ubuntu, I use these commands:

ssh -X user@host gnome-session


ssh -Y user@host gnome-session


I found the x11vnc to be pretty easy.

Allowed me to see the remote active gnome desktop.

(Appears as a desktop app. I ssh-tunnel forward it's port on my local machine. Then connect my local vnc client to my local ssh-forwarded port.)

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