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Using ssh -X user@host I can start programs on the host and X11 forwarding allows me to see their windows on the remote machine. However, I'd like to be able to forward/redirect existing windows.

How would I do that (if it's possible at all)?

Note, VNC is not an option (no server installed on the host and my user has limited permissions).

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up vote 13 down vote accepted

It looks like xpra is an active successor to xmove, and does exactly what you want. The devs bill it as "screen for X clients". While it needs to run on your remote server, it runs just fine out of a home folder. Besides python, xvfb is a runtime dependency.

Once you get it installed on the remote server, it's pretty easy to use.

xpra start :8

On your local machine, ssh in and run:

xpra attach :8
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Bah, xvfb isn't installed by default. Anyways, a good answer for people without permission restrictions. Will wait a couple of days and accept if there's no better solution. :) – htorque Feb 24 '11 at 17:11
Hehe, I know this starts to sound ridiculous, but my xvfb package depends on xserver-common stuff and installs documentation and two executables: xvfb and xvfb-run. Could be a simple copy to your remote ~/bin.. – djeikyb Feb 24 '11 at 20:29
For those with permissions to install apps, it appears xpra has been in the Universe repositories since Ubuntu 9.10 (Karmic Koala) – Firefeather Mar 4 '11 at 19:13
How does this move existing windows? xpra must be started before xeyes in the example. – sivann Jul 16 '14 at 7:40
@sivann I interpret "existing" to mean windows created before an ssh session (eg seated at the computer), not before the prereqs for the solution are in place. – djeikyb Jul 16 '14 at 14:39

I read on serverfault that you might be able to do that with xmove

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With the caveat that it's no longer developed, and has no official web presence. It is in the 9.x repos I think. Rumour has it has issues (minor? major?) with current X11 releases. I tried to compile it without success, but I don't claim to know much beyond running make. – djeikyb Feb 24 '11 at 21:17

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