I have a question about running GUI apps on the ubuntu server, e.g. sublime. Is it possible? since there is no Desktop installed on the server.

what I mean is that can I install sublime text from package manager, run subl command and the new document opens in sublime with GUI.

  • argh, we're not talking about ssh here, then my answer does not apply ... – pLumo Apr 6 '20 at 14:26
  • @pLumo that's ok I use ssh for managing multiple servers. – Arrow Apr 6 '20 at 16:25

If you'd like to edit files on a remote server as if you were sitting in front of a remote server:

ssh -X user@remote.server

Then run SublimeText with subl command.

Notice the usage of -X flag in the ssh command.

You can also do both steps in a single go, like shown below:

ssh -X user@remote.server subl

On the remote server you must have X-server, to install a minimal X11 server use comand:

sudo apt install xorg

! A complete desktop environment, XFCE, is installed on the server where i tested.


It is possible using X11-forwarding if the server allows. On the client you start such a session using ssh -X.

Note, that you'll find a security note in man ssh:

X11 forwarding should be enabled with caution. Users with the ability to bypass file permissions on the remote host (for the user's X authorization database) can access the local X11 display through the forwarded connection. An attacker may then be able to perform activities such as keystroke monitoring.

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