Start an X app remotely

ssh -f [email protected] DISPLAY=:0.0 smplayer movie.avi
Launch a gui app remotely. In this example smplayer is installed on the remote machine, and movie.avi is in the remote user's home dir. Note that stdout/stderr is still local, so you'll have feedback locally, add '&>/dev/null' to suppress. This is surprisingly not well known (compared to running an X app locally via ssh -X). (NB. if your distro requires ~/.Xauthority file present, then try -fX if you have problems) Resubmitted (and trimmed, thanks sitaram) due to ridiculous voting on previous submission. Fingers crossed, it gets a better rating this time.

By: Escher
2009-09-12 22:16:59

What Others Think

++ :-)
sitaram · 576 weeks and 1 day ago
Good point about the Xauthority thing -- I used to have to set it along with the DISPLAY earlier but now it seems to just work; didn't investigate why... For those who are thinking "why would I want to do that", here're a couple of examples: - when my kids were younger, it was fun to send them popup messages. Maybe a joke or a riddle. They have no clue how it popped up. I once got my nephew to start on his homework by saying "[his name], this is [teacher's name]; please start on your homework right NOW". Hilarious! And effective too. - my dad lives a 12-hour train journey away, so on the rare occasion he calls and says "this isn't working" or "how do I...", it's useful to log in, grab a screenshot of his screen using xwd and bring that file across, then take a look at it and tell him what he's doing wrong. This is easy enough/fast enough for occasional use, though I agree a true remote desktop/vnc type thing would be better for more sustained use
sitaram · 576 weeks and 1 day ago
I think the modern distros use a database for Xauthority (eg gdm login uses /var/run/gdm/auth-for-user-abc123/database, so even if you rm ~./Xauthority your xapps still work. But I can't work out the consistent behaviour across distros.
Escher · 576 weeks ago
What is the reason for not just using ssh -X (or ssh -Y) ?
peshay · 575 weeks and 6 days ago
ssh -X enables Xforwarding to the local display (by setting DISPLAY=localhost:10.0) not the remote display. It also creates the ~./Xauthority cookie, whichIi originally thought was needed, but doesn't seem necessary in modern distros.
Escher · 575 weeks and 5 days ago
I just use mplayer -display :0 movie.avi to display on the remote machine
cizu · 556 weeks and 5 days ago
Soooo many times I have been laying in bed wanting play another video and not have to get up. Now I can just use my little netbook using this command (and cizu's as well). Thanks!
whit2333 · 405 weeks ago

What do you think?

Any thoughts on this command? Does it work on your machine? Can you do the same thing with only 14 characters?

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