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Xanda - /dev/project - Use remote Linux GUI system, admin tools locally

Technology has changed dramatically in the last decade. OpenSSH is one the best project. It allows you to control remote Linux / UNIX server using command line or GUI tools.

Do you miss GUI configuration server management tools such as Debian network-admin or Redhat/Cent os system-config-* tools/utilities while administrating a Linux server? Do you want to run GUI admin tools on a remote Linux server and get display on local desktop or laptop X server system?

I have been using OpenSSH X11 forwarding and it works very well with DSL / ADSL/ cable connections.

Sample setup

Our setup is as follows:
#1: Remote Redhat Enterprise / Debian Linux Server
IP address:

#2: My IBM laptop running Ubuntu Linux connected via hi speed ADSL connection.
IP address: Dynamic

Step #1: Server Setup

You must have OpenSSH server installed. Open SSHD configuration file /etc/ssh/sshd_config

$ sudo vi /etc/ssh/sshd_config

Turn on X11Forwarding by setting X11Forwarding parameter to yes:

X11Forwarding yes

Save and close the file. Restart OpenSSH server you so the changes will take place:

$ sudo /etc/init.d/ssh restart

If you are using RedHat server, use:

# /etc/init.d/sshd restart

Logout and close ssh connection.

Step # 2: Running a command remotely

Debian Linux has the Network Administration Tool. It allows you to specify the way your system connects to other computers and to internet. Let us run this tool from laptop and make some changes to remote server networking. Open X terminal and type the command:

$ ssh -X /usr/bin/network-admin

Run RedHat Linux system-config-httpd tool (Apache sever configuration tool):

$ ssh -X /usr/bin/system-config-httpd


Basic X11 Forwarding Over SSH - Open HTTPD Config tool

[X11 Forwarding in action]


Within few seconds (depends upon your network speed) you should see a network-admin or system-config-httpd GUI locally. The client desktop/laptop does not need any extra configuration :)

Another option is to connect to the remote server and use X port forwarding:

$ ssh -X

Make sure you replace IP address with actual hostname or IP address.

A note for apple OS X tiger users

Instead of –X option use –Y option:

$ ssh -Y
$ ssh -Y system-config-network

Optional : Turn on Automatic X11 Forwarding

You can turn on automatic forwarding by adding following two lines to local OpenSSH client configuration file /etc/ssh/ssh_config or ~/.ssh/config:

$ sudo vi /etc/ssh/ssh_config

Set configuration parameter:

Host *
ForwardX11 yes

Save the changes. You can run almost any GUI program locally

[The content of this page is taken from Cyberciti. Feel free to visit the original site because who knows the original author might update the content from time to time]