Nov 28 2012

VMWare: use X server on the host

I’ve seen it more than once before that your guest OS’s user interface (Gnome, KDE, etc.) has issues, because of limited memory or display driver issues. I made it a habit to install my guests as limited as possible. Most often the guest is some server VM and UI cruft has no business on it. If I do need to run X11 applications in the guest, then I use an X11 server installed on the host.

There are free servers for both Windows (Xming) and MacOSX (XQuartz) hosts. Install those, disable access control (“xhost +”) and then redirect the guest’s DISPLAY environment variable to the host (“export DISPLAY=<host-ip>:0″) as seen here:

And you can reuse the same X11 server from multiple different guests – even at the same time.

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