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When I SSH to a remote box

$ ssh -X remotebox

then start firefox on the remote box

remotebox$ firefox

and I have firefox running on my local machine, a local firefox window will open. no firefox process is running on the remote box.

If firefox is not running on my local machine then a remote firefox window will open.

Why is it opening a local firefox window? How can i prevent that?

Update

Here some more information of my local system

Linux lesmana-laptop 2.6.32-24-generic #42-Ubuntu SMP Fri Aug 20 14:24:04 UTC 2010 i686 GNU/Linux

No LSB modules are available.
Distributor ID: Ubuntu
Description:    Ubuntu 10.04.1 LTS
Release:    10.04
Codename:   lucid

DISPLAY=:0.0

Mozilla Firefox 3.6.8, Copyright (c) 1998 - 2010 mozilla.org

remotebox

Linux dxray 2.6.22.19-0.4-default #1 SMP 2009-08-14 02:09:16 +0200 x86_64 x86_64 x86_64 GNU/Linux

LSB Version:    core-2.0-noarch:core-3.0-noarch:core-2.0-x86_64:core-3.0-x86_64:desktop-3.1-amd64:desktop-3.1-noarch:graphics-2.0-amd64:graphics-2.0-noarch:graphics-3.1-amd64:graphics-3.1-noarch
Distributor ID: SUSE LINUX
Description:    openSUSE 10.3 (X86-64)
Release:    10.3
Codename:   n/a

DISPLAY=localhost:15.0

Mozilla Firefox 3.0.14, Copyright (c) 1998 - 2009 mozilla.org

This starts a remote firefox session with a remote firefox window.

remotebox$ firefox -no-remote

This has a brief delay, then drops back to prompt and a local firefox window pops up. No firefox process running on the remotebox.

remotebox$ firefox

New information. I tried another remote box (i will name it remotebox2) and running firefox from there opened a remote firefox window instead of a local firefox window.

Linux marvin 2.6.31-22-generic #60-Ubuntu SMP Thu May 27 00:22:23 UTC 2010 i686 GNU/Linux

No LSB modules are available.
Distributor ID: Ubuntu
Description:    Ubuntu 9.10
Release:    9.10
Codename:   karmic

DISPLAY=localhost:11.0

Mozilla Firefox 3.6.8, Copyright (c) 1998 - 2010 mozilla.org

This starts a remote firefox session as expected:

remotebox2$ firefox
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Can we get the contents of the $DISPLAY variable on both the local and the remote machine? –  aperson Sep 3 '10 at 8:13
    
@aperson, updated question. –  lesmana Sep 3 '10 at 10:33
    
Thanks, the $DISPLAY doesn't seem to be an issue, ssh appears to be setting things up properly. –  aperson Sep 3 '10 at 18:46

3 Answers 3

up vote 18 down vote accepted

besides firefox -no-remote another parameter is firefox -no-xshm which reveals the technique used to make it work.

X11 shared memory is an interprocess communication technique which can be used by all applications connected to a given x server session. It can be used to perform drag & drop, and other kind of desktop interaction.

It can be (and is) used also to implement "open once" applications, in order to reduce the footprint (or the number of windows).

Since the X11 protocol is network transparent the "shared memory" is extended also to remote X11 clients.

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Try firefox -no-remote

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this works in opening a remote firefox window. but i still do not understand why a remote command can trigger a local firefox window to open. –  lesmana Sep 3 '10 at 6:53
    
@lesmana this may be due to x11-forwarding - if that is setup in the sshd_config you may have a situation where it's being executed and tunneled back through. –  Marco Ceppi Sep 4 '10 at 0:08

Note, I did dome digging as this was bugging me and you can also just add:

MOZ_NO_REMOTE=1
export MOZ_NO_REMOTE

to your profile.

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