I wonder how to use XQuartz to communicate with the Centos server through a local graphical user interface on my Mac? I did the following steps so far, and the result so far is just connect to the server through terminal.

  • Server side:

    1. Installed gdm on the server.

    2. Switched run level to 5.

  • Client side:

    1. Installed XQuartz on my Mac OS 10.8.

    2. On Terminal: ssh X root.website.com.


After doing what @onik suggested (using the xterm instead of terminal, created a new user other than root, and entered the command gnome-session), I get the following warnings before xterm halts:

enter image description here


You don't need to switch to runlevel 5, this only means that the server boots into the GUI, not that it's useable. You can use runlevel 3 and launch remote X sessions.

Furthermore, you'll have to use xterm to start the SSH session, not Terminal.app. If you run XQuartz it should open it by default. Then run ssh -X root.website.com to open the session and from this session you can launch the needed applications. If you need the entire desktop, run gnome-session & or your desired VM.

Note that you need to have X11Forwarding yes in your /etc/ssh/sshd.conf.

  • This is a bug in at least Ubuntu, you need to set the right permissions to the dbus files under your user's home. SSH to the server and run sudo chown -R <youruser>:<yourgroup> ~/.dbus and it should be fixed. More details here. – onik Mar 21 '14 at 13:04
  • cerated the new user and the problem still exist (updated the question with the list of warnings). – user2538022 Mar 22 '14 at 12:50

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