Reverse remote display


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This describes how to control/display your non-XO-computer via your XO. To display the XO's screen on another monitor, see Remote Display

You currently have two options:


X11 forwarding

This will allow you to have the most realistic experience.

First, stop sugar by executing the following as root (via sudo, su, or a vterm):

init 3

You can either run your desktop environment (KDE, GNOME etc) or a single application.

Desktop environment

This will bring the XO down to either a login prompt (Stock 656 and lower builds) or a "Press enter to login" prompt (Update.1-690 and later). In the former case, log in as "root" with no password; in the latter case press the enter key.

Execute the following commands:

su - olpc
xinit -c "ssh -XCnf user@ip gnome-session; xterm"

user should be your username on your target box.
ip should be your machine's IP (something like or hostname (like "merlin").
You can replace gnome-session with whatever command you use to start your session, like startkde.

X will start and xterm will ask you for your password (unless you set up key authentication) and then, after starting your DE will give you a second Xterm on your XO with which to play with the local machine.

This is only if you wish to run the entire session on your XO. For individual apps...

Single applications

This does not require you to kill sugar. Simply run the following command in the terminal activity:

ssh -XCnf user@ip command


You should first set up an ssh server on your target machine which should allow you to run your VNC session through an encrypted tunnel. You can find information on setting up the ssh & VNC servers elsewhere. Here we assume you already have both running, along with any port forwarding you might need to do if your target machine lives behind a NAT router. You can find many good resources elsewhere for how to set this up.

First, connect to your ssh server and set up the tunnel:

ssh -fL 5900:target.ip:5900 -l user target.ip tail -f /dev/null

where target.ip could be the ip address of your target machine or a domain name, or a name you have set up using or the like. You will need to type in your password at this point, of course.

Connect through the tunnel to the VNC server:

vncviewer target.ip:5900

If you want to connect without an encrypted tunnel, you should be able to do so simply with the same vncviewer command as above.

Note that if you have your VNC server set up to listen on a differnet port for incoming connections, you should alter the above commands accordingly. You may be able to leave out the port number from the vncviewer command if you use the default value of 5900.

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