I have been digging around looking for an answer to my question but have no been able to come up with anything.

I know that xming server allows you to transparently run linux applications on windows through ssh window forwarding, but can it do the opposite and connect from the linux box to the windows box and display the windows apps in linux using this protocol?

I am thinking this is a one way ticket but I was hoping it was possible.

1 Answer 1


Depends on the Windows program, but generally, no.

The reason those linux programs can throw up their display on a PC is because they are written for the X Window System, which completely separates the client from the display server.

X has been ported to virtually every system out there, and is the defacto standard for grpahical programs on Unix/Linux variants. More specifically, any program that linked against Xlib would work in the other direction just fine. So if you were running, say, GNU Emacs in a Cygwin/X environment on Windows, you could put that program's display on Linux no problem.

But generally, no: your classic win32 programs (say, anything that ships with Windows, or Office, or your web browser, games, etc) are not going to be able to ship their display to an X Server, because they are not using Xlib at all.

What you can do is run an RDP client to let you log into the Windows desktop and run a full desktop session (but admittedly, that's quite a different solution that displaying individual programs).

  • see also the -A option to rdesktop.
    – derobert
    Commented May 8, 2013 at 22:21

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