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You're not doing anything wrong, it's supposed to do that. Remember, SSH = secure shell. You can run graphical programs on the remote machine and they'll appear on your local machine, just enter the program name at the prompt as you would if you were running something from a terminal locally. If you need whole desktop access, I think you'll have to look into using VNC.
and when I try to start X, it tells me that, "Server is already active for display :0".
You don't want to start X on the remote machine; because that won't do any good (you are not sitting in front of the remote machine) and you already have X running on the local machine. The point is you want remote programs to talk to X on the local machine.
I would ultimately like to have a full X session running like this, but I would like to also like to run individual applications instead of having to start the whole GUI (KDE/Gnome/XFCE/etc.).
When I ssh in and try to start "xclock", it says that it "failed to start on :0". If I export a different $DISPLAY value, it just says that it can't start on that display.
On your local machine (where you're initiating the connection), execute "xhost <IP address of remote machine>" or "xhost +". The "xhost +" is fairly unsafe, and will let ANYONE start an X session on your local box.
This should allow the remote machine to fire up an X session (such as xclock or xlogo), on your local machine.
Another thing to check is to be sure your display manager is running and accepting XDMCP connections. Run a "ps -ef | grep dm", and look for your display manager (gdm, xdm, etc.). If you see it started with the --nolisten parameter, nothing will work. Your local X server isn't set up to accept incoming connections, period. I don't know what distro or DM you're using, so I can't suggest what to change to remove the --nolisten, if it's there.
I tried using "xhost 192.168.1.250" (the remote server's IP address), and "xhost +", but both give me the error,
xhost: unable to open display ""
Just for good measure, I ran "ps -ef | grep dm" on the server, and determined that kdm was not running with any options.
Thanks for posting the link to the How-To, doublejoon. Setting up a VNC server will probably be my next step once I manage to get single apps working.
I suppose some more information is in order. The server is running 64-bit Gentoo (fully-updated) with xorg 7.0 and XGL (using compiz). I am able to start up a non-XGL session, however, by running "startx". The client is running 32-bit Ubuntu-Dapper, also fully-updated.
I should probably also tell you all that basically, what I'm trying to do is to be able to administer the server (which also happens to be a desktop computer) remotely, such as from the other room, should the need arise (such as when I'm trying to do something on another computer at the same time). I'm hoping that once I get this working, it'll allow me to do it on other computers that I'll set up strictly as servers, so that I won't need to have a monitor attached to them in order to get at the tools I need.
just an FYI, VNC is slow no matter what the platform.
there are several thinclient type apps out there for linux that will give you a new xwindow on a remote system that are not near as laggy as vnc.
i do use x11vnc on one of my computers, but that is just because it is easy to not muck with much, but now that i have it hooked up to a HDTV i no longer use the x11vnc as i can read the screen on the TV clearly now vs when it was on a standard TV.