X11 forwarding on OS X (macOS)

By | 6 Jan 2017

X forwarding of Unix/Linux applications to OS X can be quite frustrating or easy depending on what steps are followed.  Here is a straight forward guide to the process:

  1. Download the XQuartz X-Windows manager for OS X (macOS).
    Originally included  in OS X releases 10.5 through 10.7 the latest (and recommended) version is now available via the project website at:  https://www.xquartz.org/
  2. Install XQuartz
    1. Mount the downloaded Disk Image (XQuartz-2.7.11.dmg at time of writing)
    2. Run the XQuartz installer
    3. Logout and back in to make XQuartz the default X11 server.
  3. SSH to the remote host including the -X or -Y option.
    The -X enables X-forwarding. Sometimes, you might need to use -Y instead. This enables trusted X-forwarding.
  4. Launch the application within the SSH session.In the example image below I have a SSH session to a RedHat host with KVM running and launched the VM Manager from the SSH session.

X-Forwarding Example


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