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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?

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    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
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    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
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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.

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