idea: screen-like utility for X11 / proxy server

Ori Bernstein ori at
Sun Apr 13 15:36:44 PDT 2008

On Sun, 13 Apr 2008 23:31:16 +0200, Mildred <ml.mildred593 at> said:

> Hi everybody. This is my first post here, hello everyone :)


> Some time ago, I had a thought about something that could be very
> useful for X11. So what I'm presenting here is just an idea that some
> of you might find interesting (but maybe you already had thoughts about
> it).

I was actually working on this for Summer of Code a while back. It's a
whole lot harder than it looks. I started getting somewhere, but then I
got busy with other things and never finished, and there are some issues
I'm still not entirely sure how I want to deal with.

> Why isn't it possible for graphical application. So far I haven't found
> a such elegant solution.
> The idea would simply to have some king of X11 proxy. Graphical
> applications would run inside the X11 proxy, they could be attached on
> the fly to the main X11 server running on my computer. if the server
> crashes, the proxy simply detaches applications from the server. And if
> I want to use those applications from somewhere else using X11
> forwarding with ssh, it could he possible as easily by detaching
> application from the running X11 server on the remote host and reattach
> them to the local X11 server.

Yes, but you also have to propagate data back from the X server you're
attached to through to the applications running inside it. For example,
atoms will have to be shared, pixmaps and window IDs in principle may
want to be shared, although I can't think of any apps that this would
affect, off the top of my head, other than gnome-panel. Then there's the
issue of mirroring all drawing operations in software while not blowing
performancewise, but that can come later.

> Do you think it's a good idea ?

Sure, it's a good idea. it's also a whole lot of work. The solution I
had started on is also a mess, since I was learning the way the X server
worked internally, and probably comes nowhere near compiling anymore
thanks to changes both inside the X server, and some API changes in XCB.

Hopefully I'll have time to pick up this work again at some point.

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