[rescue] Running X on Headless Server??????

Devin L. Ganger devin at thecabal.org
Mon Sep 29 15:00:19 CDT 2003

On Sat, Sep 27, 2003 at 02:49:00PM -0400, Dave McGuire wrote:
>    This is a point of confusion of X clients vs. an X server.  An X 
> server can be anywhere on a TCP/IP (or DECnet) connected network, 
> separate from the clients.  The server is what talks to the video 
> system, keyboard, and pointing devices.

Yes, but the confusion is not always on the part of the administrators.

I have seen Java software, for instance, that required a local X server to
be running, as it hooked in to those libraries for its graphics routines.
Ugly bitch, that code was, and really pissed us off, as this particular
server was being maintained by a developer group (not the sysadmin group)
and was destined for life in the DMZ.

I finally was able to drop enough clue in the ear of the lead DBA to get
him to try installing the VNC X server.  (For some reason I don't now
recall, Xvfb didn't work.)  That did the trick nicely and closed down a bunch
of ports that otherwise would have been left wide open -- and IIRC, gave
the admin group the extra bit of leverage they needed to get that rogue
server back under their control and out of the hands of the project
manager who'd conceived the grand end-run around us obstructionist sysadmins
(who cared about silly little things like maintainability, security,
and servicability).
Devin L. Ganger <devin at thecabal.org>
"Aikido is based around the central precept of letting an attack take its
natural course.  You, of course, don't want to impede that natural flow
by being in its way." -- overheard on the PyraMOO

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