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I know that is a strange question, I am just curious.

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Please review the FAQ - Server Fault is for professionals seeking advice on actual problems they face in their work environments -- SuperUser and [Unix & Linux](http//unix.stackexchange.com) cater to enthusiasts, home users, and "just curious" type questions... –  voretaq7 Aug 25 '12 at 1:22
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closed as off topic by voretaq7 Aug 25 '12 at 1:20

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2 Answers

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Yes. Individual X clients (which all Gnome and KDE applications and the window managers themselves are) can simply have display output (and mouse/keyboard input) redirected to an X window server. I regularly start an X windows server (XMing actually) on my Windows 7 laptop and start clients from SSH terminal sessions to display on the laptop. The key is usually simply to define $DISPLAY to point to the X server machine.

Going further, you can use XDMCP (X Display Manager Control Protocol) to redirect the entire session, starting at login, from a remote host to the local X server. In this case, you can have a workstation running the X server software which provides access to multiple hosts running the actual sessions with X clients. This used to be more common when the workstation was much less powerful than the server but had good graphics.

In most client/server setups, which the X Window System is, the client is local and the server is remote; in X, this is reversed, because what is being 'served' is display capability, so the X server is running the display in front of you and the X client can be anywhere.

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The "Live" installers mostly do this out of the box (so to speak).

For DVD installers, that depends on the distro but to my understanding they're all running in a restricted xwindows environment so such capabilities are highly unlikely to be present.

The CD installers almost definitely would not.

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CD installers are (or should be) able to run a desktop environment, but it's possible since things have bloated over the years some or many distros removed that functionality. Knoppix will for sure: knoppix.org –  aseq Aug 8 '12 at 23:23
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