LinuxQuestions.org
Download your favorite Linux distribution at LQ ISO.
Go Back   LinuxQuestions.org > Forums > Linux Forums > Linux - Software
User Name
Password
Linux - Software This forum is for Software issues.
Having a problem installing a new program? Want to know which application is best for the job? Post your question in this forum.

Notices


Reply
  Search this Thread
Old 02-09-2011, 01:53 PM   #1
nbcohen
Member
 
Registered: Mar 2003
Location: Northern Virginia
Distribution: RH Enterprise, Fedora
Posts: 96

Rep: Reputation: 17
Running a remote Firefox


This is mostly curiosity on my part - but I'd be grateful if someone can explain what is happening to me...

I have 2 Linux systems - both running Fedora 14 and fully updated. They are sitting side by side on the same network. I have Firefox 3.6 installed on both, and running on one (call it system A). If I ssh to system B and run firefox there, I get a new window opened, but the browser is running on system A. If I close the instance of Firefox running on system A before trying to start one on System B, then the new window is actually running on system B.

This doesn't happen when I run Thunderbird on different systems. What is happening to Firefox that it performs this way?

Thanks in advance,

nbc
 
Old 02-09-2011, 04:18 PM   #2
Nominal Animal
Senior Member
 
Registered: Dec 2010
Location: Finland
Distribution: Xubuntu, CentOS, LFS
Posts: 1,723
Blog Entries: 3

Rep: Reputation: 948Reputation: 948Reputation: 948Reputation: 948Reputation: 948Reputation: 948Reputation: 948Reputation: 948
In short, Firefox does extra work to make sure that happens.

When you fire up Firefox, it checks if there is an existing Firefox in the same X11 session, using some X11 interprocess communication method. If it finds an existing Firefox, the new one just tells the existing one to do the work instead. I haven't checked the specifics on exactly what and how the latest Firefox versions behave, but this is the overall idea.

Most applications do not have, nor need, that kind of checking. Because Firefox has such a complex profile/session management, multiple instances modifying the profile at the same time is very fragile and difficult to get right. Instead of trying to do it that way, the developers chose to make sure there is always only one Firefox instance per (profile per) X11 session.

In your case, the X11 session is managed by the X11 server on your own workstation. When you connect to system B, and start Firefox there, it communicates with the X11 server on your own machine, and throws up the windows and whatnot on your own machine. Then, when you start Firefox locally, that instance notices there's already a Firefox running, so it tells the already running instance to do the work instead. Since Firefox uses the X11 communication methods, it does not matter that the already running version is actually running on B; they are still in the same X11 session, connected to the same X11 server.

On thin clients this means that any binary can reside on any server that is accessible via rsh or ssh. You can have one server dedicated for running browsers, another for eg. OpenOffice.org, and so on, without the users ever noticing anything (as long as the local binaries are diverged to start up the applications on the server instead). For large number of clients, that sort of optimization may provide surprising benefits, both because the servers can be optimized for a small number of applications, but also because Linux will usually only need one copy of the binaries in memory, leaving almost all memory for data and caches.

I hope you find this informative,
Nominal Animal

Last edited by Nominal Animal; 03-21-2011 at 08:00 AM.
 
Old 02-09-2011, 04:25 PM   #3
nbcohen
Member
 
Registered: Mar 2003
Location: Northern Virginia
Distribution: RH Enterprise, Fedora
Posts: 96

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 17
Remote Firefox

Thanks very much - I suspected it was something like that. I can see the value of doing it that way, but once in a while I want to be able to run one remotely - at least I know how to make that happen...

Much obliged,

nbc
 
  


Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off



Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Windows running Firefox more secure than linux running it? moxieman99 General 14 04-04-2009 11:12 AM
remote firefox control StargateSteve Linux - Desktop 0 02-06-2007 05:09 PM
need help running remote X applications zero79 Debian 5 06-11-2005 10:55 PM
running KDE from remote hamza11050 Linux - Software 7 02-13-2005 09:54 PM
Firefox -remote option generates "No running window found" error lasindi Linux - Software 6 09-23-2004 11:25 PM

LinuxQuestions.org > Forums > Linux Forums > Linux - Software

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 12:46 AM.

Main Menu
Advertisement
My LQ
Write for LQ
LinuxQuestions.org is looking for people interested in writing Editorials, Articles, Reviews, and more. If you'd like to contribute content, let us know.
Main Menu
Syndicate
RSS1  Latest Threads
RSS1  LQ News
Twitter: @linuxquestions
Open Source Consulting | Domain Registration