I ask this anticipating the answer is 'no', but - is it possible to forward graphics windows on mac the way you would forward X11 windows, i.e. via ssh?

I'm thinking specifically of the python display windows generated by matplotlib, which I'm guessing use cocoa or something similar.

A workaround for this question is to use Screen Sharing with ssh tunneling, but I'm asking if the direct solution is possible.

  • You could probaby do this with XQuartz, but you'd get 1. X11-style windows, and 2. it would be really hairy. – Fake Name Dec 31 '12 at 23:01
  • @Fakename - XQuartz is X11 no difference between the two for this. – mmmmmm Jan 1 '13 at 11:55
  • Oh, Doh, I read your question wrong. derp. For what it's worth, you can run matplotlib through X11/XQuartz even on a mac. If you install matplotlib through macports, I'm pretty sure it installs the X11 version, rather then the Cocoa version (which is what I thought you wanted when I commented). – Fake Name Jan 1 '13 at 12:16
  • @FakeName - macports install is more complex - it installs the GUI kit e.g. Qt, Gtk and you have to make sure that that toolkit is installed using X11 not Cocoa – mmmmmm Jan 1 '13 at 15:18
  • @Mark - Hmmm. I'm pretty sure I actually went through the whole install process a few years ago, only to get X11-based GUIs, requiring a whole clean reinstall of python. However, this may have changed. – Fake Name Jan 2 '13 at 12:37

As you say the answer is no. OSX does not include a remote graphics display whilst X11 does. (The Cocoa API is based on the NeXTStep API which was drawn by Display Postscript which allowed remote graphics display - however the license cost too much for Apple to use)

However this is a general answer for all applications. But you can configure matplotlib to use an X11 backend and this can be displayed remotely. See this StackOverflow question.

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