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I have a very small lab network with three boxes: a modern x86-based RHEL3 box, an x86-based RHEL5 box, and a 1998-vintage SPARC Ultra5 with Solaris 8. I can use ssh -X to run a program on the RHEL5 box and view the windows on the RHEL3 box. I believe this uses xauth and magic cookies?? I have followed the X-Windows HOWTO to set up xauth on the Solaris box, but so far no dice. I would like to be able to use the X-windows server on the RHEL3 box with a client program on the Solaris box (program running on Solaris host, windows appearing at Linux host). Is there a trick to this, or have I made a mistake following the instructions for setting up xauth and magic cookie?

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

There are two options: xauth + magic cookies, where you set the DISPLAY variable to the host you want to see the gui on:

from client-machine ssh to server-machine,

export DISPLAY=client-machine:0

On the other hand, a much better and easier solution is using the -X option for ssh. This sets up an automatic tunnel for forwarding the X connection. You'll see your DISPLAY variable has already been set upon ssh to the localhost with a high display number: usually around 10.

However, you must enable X forwarding. As I recall, it is disabled by default on solaris. Go into your sshd_config and ensure you have it enabled.

P.S. You may find it useful to know that while the solaris ssh client only uses -X, the standard linux client also has -Y for trusted connections. This means that for some applications, only -Y will work (I've had issues with Java GUIs)

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I have two config files for openssh on my old Solaris box: ssh_config and sshd_config. In both files, everything is commented out which makes me think the real setting is somewhere else. Any recommendations? – joshxdr Jan 5 '11 at 15:14
/etc/ssh/ssh_config is where default settings for the client live: if you enable X forwarding there, then it's enabled even when you don't use -X on the command line. /etc/ssh/sshd_config is the server config. Everything is commented out to show you the default values and possible entries, but all are active. Change #X11Forwarding no to X11Forwarding yes. Restart sshd and your problem is fixed :) – Michael Lowman Jan 5 '11 at 15:18
P.S. Sometimes it's in /etc/sshd_config. Depends on the operating system, and I don't have a Solaris machine handy – Michael Lowman Jan 5 '11 at 15:24
On the Solaris box I changed X11Forwarding to yes in sshd_config and uncommented. Then I restarted sshd. This did NOT work. At Solaris box, I can see windows from app on Linux box by typing @Solaris>ssh -X, but the other way does NOT work, i.e. @Linux>ssh -X Solaris. When I do this and type @Solaris>echo $DISPLAY there is nothing there. – joshxdr Jan 5 '11 at 15:41
can you check your syslog? you may be experiencing this bug – Michael Lowman Jan 5 '11 at 15:56

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