Server Fault is a question and answer site for system and network administrators. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I have some simulations that take a long time to run and my work has a very messed up collection of Exceed and Go Global window shares. (I would much much prefer to have a simple VNC instead). So sometimes I need to run things from Go Global and then I need to share the simulation with others. So right now I have to quite the simulation change the $DISPLAY to the Exceed display and restart the simulation. It would be nice if I could just dynamically send the simulation to a new $DISPLAY without restarting it.

It seems to me like this should be do-able but I wanted to ask the experts to see if it is possible and if anyone has done it before.

share|improve this question
Why is this community wiki? Seems fairly straight forward -- the answer is "no, you can't." – David Mackintosh Aug 25 '09 at 2:11
It didn't seem clear to me when I should make it community wiki. I usually default to have things more open so I selected community wiki. I guess maybe my default should be the other way since I would like annswers to get rep pts. It still does not seem clear to me when you should select community wiki or not. If you would like to enlighten me I would be happy to learn something new. – stephenmm Aug 25 '09 at 15:22
up vote 1 down vote accepted

There is this program called xmove that in theory can do this. I haven't gotten it to work all that well, but you may have more luck.

share|improve this answer
We don't have xmove installed by default so I would probably want to have IT install it so that it was generally available and as they are so concerned with security (supposedly) I am not sure they would be cool with it but I can ask. – stephenmm Aug 24 '09 at 18:34
Interesting from the wikipage on xmove -- "It solves a problem in the design of X, where an X client (an X application) is tied to the X server (X display) it was started on for its lifetime." -- They consider it a problem (aka bug) ? – stephenmm Aug 24 '09 at 18:35
It probably wasn't part of the original design. – Bart Silverstrim Aug 24 '09 at 20:46
It's a problem, yes. I want to have "screen" for X apps. – Thomas Aug 24 '09 at 21:16
Remember, X wasn't designed as a core part of UNIX at the time. It just sort of...happened. – Bart Silverstrim Aug 25 '09 at 1:37

Another solution is xpra. This is screen for X application - you attach and detach X apps just like console ones.

share|improve this answer
xpra is great. The project is at . If you need a binary for Windows or OS X, winswitch bundles it. – sciurus Mar 10 '11 at 3:30
winswitch uses this fork of xpra which is more up to date – totaam Jan 2 '12 at 9:12

I don't think I've ever seen this done except maybe in Plan 9; I think the displays are kind of bound to where it's currently running.

If you're running a console application you can run Screen as a utility, which lets you suspend the display (running in the background) then reconnect from another login later at another location.

I personally would look at running VNC server (which if you're running Ubuntu is in desktop sharing: system->preferences->remote desktop), just as you mentioned, and control your different access needs by connecting to your central workstation. I also would do this using SSH tunneling to encrypt the connection password, too.

Hopefully I understood your usage scenario...

share|improve this answer
I think you got it. I would love to use VNC again but our corporate overloards forbid it in the name of security. I would like to debate that reasoning with them but unfortunately our company was aquired by them and therefore we are incapbable of reason. Not that I am bitter or anything... :) Thanks for the reply. Everyone has been telling me its not possible. Just hoping... – stephenmm Aug 24 '09 at 16:51
How can you use X then, since it's not encrypted unless you're using SSH to forward everything, in which case you can easily tunnel the VNC connection? – Bart Silverstrim Aug 24 '09 at 17:29
I am not sure how exceed or go global are working under the hood but I assume they establish a secure connection through which you can start an xsession. I do not know for sure what that connection is but I would assume it is basically SSH with something proprietary thrown in there so that they can charge money for it. – stephenmm Aug 24 '09 at 18:31

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.