Remote X

Short story:

local-machine $ ssh -X remote-server
remote-server $ /opt/ff4/firefox -no-remote &

Now the rant:
I have an underutilized PC sitting in the office mostly gathering dust. It has 4G of RAM and plenty of HD space. So, I decided to use it, remotely.

I’m running the latest Ubuntu on my laptop/netbook. The “server” has Windows 7 running on it, and I don’t want to mess with that as my wife uses the machine (also remotely) for her design work. The solution was pretty simple: download VirtualBox, install a fresh Ubuntu inside a VM, run the VM headless and access it remotely from the laptop.

# running headless 
C:\Program Files\Oracle\VirtualBox>VBoxHeadless.exe -s newvm
Oracle VM VirtualBox Headless Interface 4.0.4

# changes in ubuntu vm:
# create/edit the file /etc/gdm/custom.conf with the following:
[daemon]
[security]
DisallowTCP=false
[xdmcp]
Enable=true
DisplaysPerHost=2
[greeter]
[chooser]
[debug]

# restarted GDM using: /etc/init.d/gdm restart

# then connected from the client machine (laptop)
ssh -X remote-server

Now all commands entered or apps launched in the ssh shell will in fact run on the server, but will be displayed on the laptop monitor. Simple and effective.

I am going to install a small footprint window manager/desktop environment and use that later on. But I’m happy with things as they are at the moment. I’m running firefox/thunderbird remotely (both use plenty of memory)

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