Friday, 7 May 2010

XMing The Merciful ...

Whilst working on-site where I was temporarily unable to connect my own Mac to the client's network ( not unreasonable ), I needed a solution to allow me to access the multitude of Red Hat Enterprise Linux boxes on which I'm installing WebSphere Portal, Lotus Connections and Lotus Quickr - from a shared Windows XP desktop.

Now I've been using Simon Tatham's most excellent PuTTY client for many a year, but also needed a mechanism to tunnel X11 back from the server to the Windows client.

VNC wasn't an option, because there were no suitable window managers ( twm etc. ) or terminal clients ( xterm etc. ) on the RHEL servers.

I have in the past used Cygwin, but that looked like a sledge hammer to crack a nut.

When I cast my mind back to the last time I hit this problem in November 2009, I remembered a neat little XWindows server called XMing.

This, combined with PuTTY, allowed me to connect, securely using SSH, to the remote Linux boxes, and then tunnel the X11 display back across the SSH connection to the XMing server, which sits in the system tray, and listens for X11 connections on

The only additional thing that I needed to do was to "tell" PuTTY to allow X11 forwarding, via Connection -> SSH -> X11, with Enable X11 forwarding checked and also set the default X11 display location to localhost:0

Easy as darn fine cherry pie ...

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