I want to connect to a server with SSH (a Debian installation in a VMware image). On that server I want to call gitk a repository viewer for git. What do I need to do to make this work?


To enable X11 forwarding on the server you need at least the xauth program.

  1. Install xbase-clients on the server (or the package that contains xauth)
  2. Connect to the server with SSH using the following command

    ssh -X servername

  3. Run the program


Also, check that X11Forwarding is set to yes in /etc/ssh/sshd_config (it is apparently the default in Debian).


As an addendum to Peter's correct answer:

If you're using Windows, you can install Cygwin/X to display remote X applications running locally, it's more transparent than remote desktop.

If you just want to execute a shell command remotely, it's "ssh user@hostname command". For even more info, see the man page for the ssh command, or see all the OpenSSH man pages. If you haven't yet used scp or ssh-agent, they will make your life easier.

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