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I was wondering if there was a way to run Gnome (or XFCE) from either an X terminal thin client such as a netbook running only XWindows or even perhaps a Windows maching using Xming or X/Cygwin and have the Window manager and desktop hosted from an Linux server?

Also, could this host multiple Gnome/Xfce sessions simultaneousness?

From my limited experience, I have only run a window manager on the local machine (physical or virtual) in front of me. I can run applications from the remote machine but they use my local window manager.

A hypothetical situation would be a classroom where the professor wanted to demonstrate Linux but the room only has Windows and/or Mac computers. If the professor has a sufficiently powerful server, could all student experience the Gnome interface simultaneous using just a program like Xming to connect to the server?

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See:… – Zoredache Jun 23 '10 at 6:01

You could set up a thin-client server, however if you just want to demonstrate (ie have users view but not interact), you might want to set up something like x11vnc in view-only mode.

See my notes on how I did this for one site here.

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First, check out LTSP (Linux Terminal Server Project).

X11 was designed with this in mind. If you wanted to roll it yourself, have a look at or search for xdmcp.

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