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Allowing Remote User to Control OLPC XO Screen

The OLPC XO is for my 2 years old daughter. It's on her kiddie desk. Really very short for any adult to sit at. So I usually manage her OLPC XO remotely via a SSH login account. That is all nice and dandy until I tried to control her GUI remotely. For example, I would like to be able to load up an educational video for her to watch from a remote computer on the kitchen table, just a few feet from her OLPC XO. That would prevent me from having to crouch at the kiddie table and type command in at the terminal. And I could avoid getting in her way when she is using her laptop. But UNIX strict X Window access is getting in the way.

If I open up the Terminal on the XO and type "xhost +" with the "olpc" user account, then I can use the following commands to play videos on the OLPC XO screen remotely.

  export DISPLAY=:0.0
mplayer *.flv

However, that kind of defeats the purpose of running GUI application remotely, because I still have to kneel at her OLPC XO to open up Terminal and type "xhost +". And the access disappears when the OLPC XO is rebooted. Typing "xhost +" by logging into various accounts remotely did not allow access to be opened.

I've tried to put the "xhost +" command into "/etc/rc.local" and "/home/olpc/.bashrc". But neither solution allowed me to start the videos remotely. Anyone have a tip on how I can open up access without being in front of the OLPC XO laptop?

Chieh Cheng
Mon, 18 Jan 2010 08:47:21 +0000

Ok. I got it to work. You'll have to create a "/home/olpc/.xsession" file with the following content:

  if [ -n "${DISPLAY}" ]
xhost +

If you created this file using another user account (not olpc), then you need to issue the following commands:

  sudo chown olpc .xsession
sudo chgrp olpc .xsession
sudo chmod 700 .xsession

Now, reboot the OLPC XO and you can now control its display with another computer. And this will continue to work after every reboot.

Chieh Cheng
Mon, 18 Jan 2010 09:39:49 +0000

This is bad advice as it disables security.

Try "ssh -X" address instead.

The "-X" sets the xauth permissions.

Michael Cheselka
Fri, 13 May 2011 12:13:44 +0000

The remark about security is correct, however if you want to add an xhost statement to .xsession, remember that you HAVE to add a command to start the window manager at the very end of .xsession. This is badly documented, but if this command is omitted, the WM won't start. In case of KDE this command would be startkde.


Hans Linkels
Wed, 28 Mar 2012 17:35:18 +0400

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