Export X from server to local system

Every now and then I have to verify a graphical application running on the remote server. That must be done via graphical output, no way to do it from the command line.

For those scenarios I usually export the X from the remote interface to my local workstation. That can be done simply by issuing:

ssh -X -C -c blowfish <username>@<remote-server>

From the ssh man page:

     Enables X11 forwarding. (X11 forwarding should be enabled
     with caution. Read the man page);
    Requests compression of all data;
-c cipher_spec:
    Selects the cipher specification for encrypting the session.
    The supported values are “3des”, “blowfish”, and “des”.

Using a remote connection to a xenial ppc64el server from a Fedora24, I got the following error:

Unable to negotiate with <server>: no matching cipher found. 
Their offer: chacha20-poly1305@openssh.com,aes128-ctr,aes192-ctr,

Adding blowfish-cbc (taken from the openssh man page) to the ssh_config files did not “blow it away” though. So to get rid of the error I simply removed the ‘blowfish‘ cipher type, and left the task to the system.

After getting access you won’t notice any difference, for the result is the same as as regular ssh connection. The difference relies on the behavior when you run a graphical application from the CLI. Here I am running HardInfo in the remote system as an example:


Graphical interface being exported to a local workstation from a remote Ubuntu ppc64el system.

Please read the ssh man page carefully to get clearer all security considerations and get advantage of the X exporting when running graphical applications.

Have a nice day.


2 thoughts on “Export X from server to local system

  1. Thanks,
    Well, it was an easy choice for it was a legacy procedure we had in the team, and I was not there when the discussion about that happened, so I cannot answer with further details. But as for general reasons, as far as I understand, the team decided it was the fastest option in terms of interacting with the software being tested, just so to avoid bigger lags with the server.


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