We have some Mac Pro workstations, and a number of people with Linux and windows laptops would like to be able to run GUI programs from those workstations remotely, ideally with X11 forwarding.

I know you can use Xquartz to get windows from a remote Linux machine, but is it possible to do it the other way around? That is, is it possible to use X forwarding to get windows from a remote Macintosh machine? If so, how?

2 Answers 2


When I tried that a while back the app would open on the Mac instead of the Linux machine. Then I remember reading a while back:

X forwarding only works for X Windows System-based applications. To do remote work on an OS X system, it’s better to use Apple Remote Desktop. With Remote Desktop, you log into the remote GUI and do all your work remotely rather than pulling the app and visualizing it on your own desktop with your X server.

Source: Apple OS X: Install X Window System XQuartz For SSH X11 Forwarding On a Mavericks or Yosemite


It isn't exactly "X Forwarding" but there is a reason the Screen Sharing app was created. It is actually a VNC viewer that has been optimized for mac to that it is almost like the other mac is right in front of you.

  • Does it work on Linux?
    – Dan
    Sep 30, 2016 at 17:37
  • yes, simply look up "VNC client"
    – dalearn
    Sep 30, 2016 at 17:43
  • @Dan not it does not work exactly the same as X you get a whole screen not Window by Window but should work OK f not better for your needs
    – mmmmmm
    Sep 30, 2016 at 17:57
  • for sure... X is interpreted differently on every platform but by the nature of VNC it is always consistent!
    – dalearn
    Sep 30, 2016 at 18:01

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