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I am new to SSH. So now I can connect to a remote computer. I also can launch an application on a remote computer and see it's GUI on my screen. But I do not know how to launch an application without outputting on my screen.
Basically I want to launch an application (eg. rhythmbox), and close the ssh connection, leaving the application running. Without having any output to my screen.

Surfing the web I have found some advices, but nothing helped me;

ssh -X name@domain
nohup rhythmbox &

Hope you understood, sorry for my English.

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You may need to play with the DISPLAY environment variable to force the GUI to display on an X Display that will not terminate when the connection is closed. In addition you would need nohup. What are you trying to accomplish firing up a GUI you cannot see? – Mark Bidewell Aug 22 '11 at 20:17
Let me see if I've understood correctly. You want to connect from your laptop to your desktop, for instance, launch a music player which would then appear on the desktop and not on the laptop? In other words; you'd like to use another computer as a sort of remote control? – Jo-Erlend Schinstad Aug 22 '11 at 20:38
Yes, you're right! – 0xDE4E15B Aug 22 '11 at 21:54

1 Answer 1

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Do you mean you want Rhythmbox to display onto the remote computer's screen? The screen onto which a GUI application is displayed is indicated by the DISPLAY environment variable. When you run ssh -X, DISPLAY is set to a value that indicates that display requests must be forwarded over the SSH connection. To make the application display on the remote computer's screen, set DISPLAY to the value :0.

ssh 'DISPLAY=:0 rhythmbox &'

There's one more hurdle: when an application connects to an X display, it needs to provide a sort of password called a cookie. The cookie is generated each time the X server starts. Ubuntu stores the cookie in a file with a randomly generated name. The easiest way to find the cookie is to store it in a well-known file name when the X server starts. On Ubuntu, add this code to your ~/.profile:

    # DISPLAY is set and points to a local display, and XAUTHORITY is
    # set, so merge the contents of `$XAUTHORITY` into ~/.Xauthority.
    XAUTHORITY=~/.Xauthority xauth merge "$XAUTHORITY";;

For more background, see ssh DISPLAY variable.

Or did you mean you never ever want to see the Rhythmbox window? If so, make it connect to a virtual X server, xvfb Install xvfb. Start the virtual X server, then tell Rhythmbox to connect to it.

ssh 'Xvfb :1 -screen 0 800x600x8 & sleep 1; DISPLAY=:1 rhythmbox &'
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Anyway, in case of remote audio player on the local X server (-X option to ssh), where the sound will go? – enzotib Aug 22 '11 at 21:51
@enzotib The sound will be played locally, unless you've set up sound forwarding (unless recent versions of Ubuntu set up sound forwarding by default?). – Gilles Aug 22 '11 at 21:58
You should probably use nohup or run the Rhythmbox in a screen session. Otherwise, when you close the terminal window on the client, Rhythmbox will be terminated on the server as well. – Jo-Erlend Schinstad Aug 25 '11 at 17:04

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