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SSH help

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D $hady

Feb 11, 2003

I've got a quick question about using SSH and a remote display.

Let's say I have a Linux box running an X server (and KDE) connected to a monitor.

What I want to do is SSH into that machine and run an application that can only run in an X environment. Currently, when I run a command in an SSH session (in this case mythfrontend from MythTV), I get "mythfrontend: cannot connect to X server" (duh!).

So how to I get that app (mythfrontend) to run on the X server being used by the monitor? I'm guessing it's easy but I'm stuck.



(I hope I got all my Linux lingo correct :p )


Dec 12, 2003
San Francisco
Normally, ssh sets the DISPLAY variable to localhost:X.0 and exports that back to the connecting host, which would be where your display is.

You can try the insecure way to see if it's an ssh problem or an X problem.
On the local machine, let remotehost connect:
$ xhost +remotehost
Where remotehost is an IP address or a hostname.
On the remote machine:
$ export DISPLAY=myhost:0.0
$ xterm
Where myhost is a IP address or a hostname.
Start something simple, like xterm, before trying mythfrontend. It's possible mythfrontend is using fancy hardware accelerated graphics that can't be done remotely.

See http://www.linuxfocus.org/English/January2002/article222.shtml for a good descrtiption of the above.

If that works, then ssh is having problems exporting the connection back to the local machine. Make sure you can start an X client before ssh-ing over to the remote machine. It may be that your DISPLAY is wrong or is set incorrectly and ssh is exporting that setting.


Aug 22, 2002
Las Cruces, NM, USA
Easy, secure, fast way:

Invoke ssh with (can also be set with config files):
ssh -X -C hostname

And then run programs on the remote machine. ssh automatically creates an X proxy on the remote machine, tunneled over SSH, back to the X server on your machine. It also sets DISPLAY correctly and so on. Be aware that remote X over anything that isn't LAN tends to be slow.


Nov 7, 2001
Tampa, FL
Also, on your remote machine, you may have to edit /etc/ssh/sshd_config and add or uncomment this option:

X11Forwarding yes