Running xrandr on a remote client - possible?

Xavier Bestel xavier.bestel at
Sat Dec 15 00:45:22 PST 2007

On sam, 2007-12-15 at 00:07 +0100, Wolfgang Pfeiffer wrote:
> Hi All
> Please CC me, if you respond: I'm not subscribed to this list.
> I'm looking for a way to run xrandr on a remote client after logging
> in to this client via ssh, and manipulate
> * 1   the remote clients internal display       
> * 2   the remote clients external display (VGA/TV etc ...)

You must first start the X server locally (on the remote client). Either
by login in through gdm, or through ssh by stopping gdm and typing
startx or something equivalent.
Then you can login remotely through ssh and type;
export DISPLAY=:0
and it should work.

If you can't login locally on the remote client, then you'll have to
know which user is logged in (often it's "gdm") and use its Xauthority
credentials. IIRC something like:
export XAUTHORITY=~gdm/.Xauthority
but you may need to setup your permissions to be able to read this file
(e.g. add yourself to the "gdm" group).

Good luck,


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