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Linux in a Windows World by Roderick W Smith

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Using Remote X Access

X is Linux’s native GUI system, but unlike the Windows or Mac OS GUIs, X was designed with network access in mind; user programs communicate with the X server using network protocols, even when the computer isn’t connected to a network. This feature makes remote X access easy—at least, in theory. In practice, you must still select an X server (if you’re using a non-Linux/Unix system to access your Linux computer) and know enough about X to initiate the connection. In fact, several methods of initiating that connection exist, and some require special configuration. Most notably, you may want to configure a remote X login server, which is separate from the X server itself, to accept logins. Finally, using X in a Windows/Linux environment presents its own unique challenges.

The X Client/Server Model

One unusual detail about using X is the way the client and server roles are assigned. Many people think of servers as powerful computers (or the programs they run) that sit in machine rooms away from users, and clients as being computers (or the programs they run) at which individual users sit. Although this description is often true, it’s not actually a definition of what makes a client a client or a server a server; rather, clients initiate network transfers and servers respond to those requests. In the case of X, the client is the computer or program that does data processing (a word processor, for instance), and the server is the computer or program that provides ...

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