I have access to two Linux boxes, both running X servers. Let's call them A and B. I do not always have physical access to machine A, though I can always access it remotely and I have admin access to it. On machine B, I do not have admin access (and even if I did I wouldn't want to screw around with the X server on it or other things, since it's a shared machine), though I do always have physical access.

Furthermore, I greatly prefer the desktop and window managers I have installed on machine A. I would like to start an X session using the window manager and desktop manager from machine A on a free tty (say, tty8) on machine B.

I know how to start a second local X session on a free tty using startx -- :1, so I tried startx ssh B "gdm" -- :1 from machine B, but this failed with the error: xterm: bad command line option "xterm". In fact, I got the same error regardless of the desktop manager that I tried to start on the remote machine.

I do not care whether I use a local X server or remote - I just want my desktop manager and window manager from the remote machine. How can I do this?

  • 1
    I don't think you can use a remote desktop manager like that. The closest you can get to something like this is x11vnc but it's not quite the same. – user26112 Jul 24 '13 at 3:15
  • 1
    The overhead of VNC is too high. I've run X applications over SSH before; that's not difficult at all. So I figure that running a whole display manager or window manager is just another X application, right? So shouldn't I be able to forward it over SSH? – jayhendren Jul 24 '13 at 3:36

The -query argument to X will allow you to specify a remote XDMCP server to connect to. Be sure that the display manager on machine A has XDMCP enabled.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.