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Ok, so if I have two Linux Machines (A and B) and I have a program on one, and want to run it on be I do:

  • user@LinuxA:~$ ssh -X LinuxB
  • user@LinuxB:~$ programName

(Displays on LinuxA machine)

Ok same thing, WindowsA LinuxB (Program on Linux)

  1. Start Xming X Server on Windows
  2. Run Putty, use x11 port forward with :0.0
  3. After connect to LinuxB, run program, it loads in Windows!

Now here is the question, WindowsA LinuxB, (Program on Windows)

Run Windows Program On Linux, using a windows resources.

How to make it work? BTW, I know it can because years ago, I read a white paper on it, but never actually tested it out.

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

I'm not aware of a way to do this with x11 (indeed, the Windows application is not running under X11). However, a similar result may be achieved using the Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP). rdesktop is a Linux client implementing RDP.

After installing redesktop (sudo apt-get install rdesktop), tunnel through SSH if the machine is not local and forward port 3389, launch an application through rdesktop by specifying the credentials, host and program to start. (See man rdesktop for more information.)

On the Windows machine install SeamlessRDP (see and the -A option to rdesktop)

On Linux machine:

ssh -L 3389:localhost:3389 user@windowsHost #Forward port 3398 if needed

rdesktop -u user -d domain -A -s seamlessrdpshell notepad.exe -f windowsHost/localhost #execute notepad

Launching without -s argument will give you a full interactive session similar to VNC, which would be a solution to achieve full remote control.

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Thanks, but rdesktop pushes the entire desktop accross, and is mirrored on the actual machine. If 3 people call firefox, they need to see their own version, not the same version everyone else is seeing. Security isn't a major concern because this will be within a fire walled trusted network. – triunenature Sep 7 '12 at 5:38
Whether it is mirrored or not depends on your version of Windows. I don't use the OS, but I think you need a 'server' version to not have sessions mirrored. I don't have a machine to test with any more, but long ago it was possible to only get the program window (just like X forwarding) by specifying the program as an argument in launch. MS might have changed this since I last used it. – computermacgyver Sep 8 '12 at 10:58
see also the -A option for rdesktop ( -A Enable SeamlessRDP. In this mode, rdesktop creates a X11 window for each window on the server side. This mode requires the SeamlessRDP server side component, which is available from When using this option, you should specify a startup shell which launches the desired application through SeamlessRDP. Example: rdesktop -A -s 'seamlessrdpshell notepad'. ) – computermacgyver Sep 8 '12 at 11:23
Thanks guys, I will have to try this out. I have a windows server for free (go being a student), and I will see if I can get this working. – triunenature Sep 9 '12 at 5:45

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