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April 5, 2006

Run GUI apps remotely in SUSE Linux 10.0

by @ 6:04 am. Filed under ssh tips, SUSE Tips & Tricks

Would you like to run a graphical application remotely? This is natively possible in SUSE Linux 10.0. It consists of two steps: 1) Connect to the remote server with an ssh client, and 2) Run the program.

1. Connect to remote server via ssh. In a shell, start up an ssh session, including the “-X” parameter:

ssh -X [username]@[server]

ex: ssh -X

2. Run the program. Run the application you wish to view remotely. You can even run YAST graphically in this manner if you are logged into the machine as root:


Behold the application appear on your desktop, running remotely:

Now, you can see that it is running remotely, because I am ssh’ed into a machine called ‘router’, and the title of the YAST window indicates that it is, in fact, running on a machine called ‘router’.So there’s your cool tip of the day. Isn’t SUSE cool?

Here’s another one: M$ is now claiming that it is not possible to totally recover from some malware. Dude, I’d jump ship now!

When I first started using Linux, I used the Gnome desktop. I did this only until I knew of any other option, the main one being KDE. Gnome is fine for some, just not for me. However, I do use a ton of Gnome-based apps, such as gaim, the GIMP, etc. Recently, KDE has enabled users to render Gnome apps to look like the KDE widget theme that the user has selected. Very nice. However, a new project has surfaced that will integrate the two desktop environments even more closely. I’d have to check, but I’m pretty sure that’s the coolest thing I’ve heard all day.

I’ve updated the Linux news page, so be sure and take a look at it. I may adjust a few more things, but if it happened in the Tech world, you’ll see it on that page.

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8 Responses to “Run GUI apps remotely in SUSE Linux 10.0”

  1. Dietrich Says:

    If you like the idea of accessing your X11 session over ssh, then you’ll do cartwheels when you try FreeNX with this Novell SuSE solution!:

    There is a warning though that I am printing here for emphasis!:
    Warning: Once you used NX you’ll NEVER GO BACK to VNC…
    It is fast (compression and cache technology applied to the X protocol), allowing you to work remotely using a higher resolution,… and secure (it runs over SSH).

    NX is, hands down, the best thin client solution EVER.
    It supports, NX, rdp, and VNC.

    OK then. Have fun! 🙂

  2. Steve Says:

    That is way cool, man. Thanks for the example — that’s totally different than how I imagined it would work. Rock on. 🙂

  3. Dietrich Says:

    Follow the directions and you’re head will spin.

    This effectively makes the X11 desktop accessible from ‘anywhere’ in the world.

    If you spend time with it, you’ll discover also that the screen updates difference between broadband and 56K Dial-up is ‘negligible’ to none–near local desktop speed. I kid you not!

    Lots of things you can do with ssh, like if you want to access your office pc behind a firewall that doesn’t allow inbound ssh port activity (assuming you have a legitimate need to do so and permission), you can
    set up a ‘reverse’ port tunnel ‘outbound’ from your office to your home pc and from home you’ll be able to reach your office pc with vnc over ssh. (If the Office PC is Windows, you’ll need either Cygwin or Putty to set up a ssh session back to your home pc.)

    VNC tunneled over ssh is better than VNC alone as VNC sends user id/password in clear text and of course encrypts and compresses the session. Best of all, it’s a no-cost solution. Using rdesktop assumes you have a Windows Terminal licensed copy installation.

    Google on ssh and reverse tunnel and you’ll find no shortage of information. It works like a VPN and is very secure.

    Carry on. 🙂

  4. Jim Says:

    Also adding the -C (capital) makes ssh use compression.

    Use this functionality all the time from my laptop to my main machine. In fact writing this over ssh now… 🙂


  5. Scott Morris Says:

    Nice tip!

  6. Rico Says:

    Nice work! However has anyone figured out how to run the complete remote KDE on your local machine yet? After I ssh to the remote machine with the -X option I am able to run X apps, but when I try to bring up the kde with command startkde I got this “KDE seems to be already running on this display.” FYI I’m running OpenSuSE 10.2 with KDE at runlevel 5.

  7. Mike Says:

    Rico: Mixed success with full KDE desktop over raw ssh. For me, I tried this:
    * ssh to openSuse machine
    * startkde

    which works sometimes and other times kills the openSUSE server (100% CPU by kdeinit)…

    I ended up just using FreeNX. I blogged about it ( ) but that’s not too clear… better to just check out the openSUSE doco:

    For 10.3, I just went to , searched for “freenx” and used one-click-install to install the server. Then on my work’s laptop (WinXP), get the client from nomachine’s site: and set it up per instructions. That works over my LAN at home.

    I’d like to remote to my linux box from my office at work, but we have firewalls and proxys that will need tunnelling through. I will investigate and write a propper report on my blog soon-ish…

  8. Mike Says:

    oops, sorry: 10.2 (I should read more carefully)…

    FreeNX is very well documented in chapter 9 of Novell’s official Reference manual (should be installed on your machine). You can see it on the Web here:

    When I followed this, it worked without any issues (again, on my LAN). Definately much easier on 10.3 though (although this section has been removed from the reference manual of 10.3, so maybe there’s something Novell knows that I don’t?)

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