I want to remotely start xserver on the remote machine.

If I type "startx" directly on the host machine (i.e. using physical keyboard), the xserver starts as expected. However, when I try to do that over ssh with the same user this does not work.

I get the following server error:

      (EE) xf86OpenConsole: Cannot open virtual console 7 (Permission denied)

sudo startx still works even remotely.

What is preventing xserver to start on remote connections? And how to go around this?

  • i think it's simply the two things are mutually incompatible. ssh has text-only support no remote desktop support. startx is probably trying to send somthing over the connection that a text-only pipe cannot support. – tatsu Mar 25 at 14:37
  • I'd use input methods of the physical host then. I just want to have a possibility to remotely start X. The only reasonable explanation would be that remote user can't trigger access to host's input/output devices on kernel level. – smihael Mar 25 at 15:11

Read man ssh, and use either the -X or -Y options.


  • -X Enables X11 forwarding. This can also be specified on a per-host basis in a configuration file. -Y Enables trusted X11 forwarding. Trusted X11 forwardings are not subjected to the X11 SECURITY extension controls. – saleetzo Mar 25 at 17:50
  • 2
    This does not solve my problem. I do not want to forward X. I only want to remotely turn on X via ssh. From that point on, X server should run locally on the host machine. My workaround is currently to start one of display managers as root and then login. – smihael Mar 26 at 8:16
  • -X is great for forwarding an existing X server, but does nothing toward starting a remote X server. – Limited Atonement Apr 30 at 14:34

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