ssh -X (X11 forwarding) not working from 6.1 to 8.1

Frank Shute frank at
Tue Jul 12 06:22:59 UTC 2011

On Tue, Jul 12, 2011 at 03:18:07AM -0700, perryh at wrote:
> DISPLAY is not getting set in a remote shell started by "ssh -X".
>   $ echo $DISPLAY
>   :0.0
>   $ ssh -X [server] 'echo DISPLAY=%$DISPLAY%'
>   DISPLAY=%%
> How would I go about debugging this?
> DISPLAY _is_ set correctly on the ssh client -- I am running in
> an xterm there, and can successfully start another (local) one --
> and the word DISPLAY is not present in any of the shell startup
> files (.bash*, .cshrc, .login, .profile, .shrc) on either the
> ssh client or the ssh server.
> The ssh client is FreeBSD 6.1 and the ssh server is FreeBSD 8.1.
> It does work correctly in the other direction (using the 8.1 system
> as the ssh client and the 6.1 system as the ssh server), and I can
> run X11 programs on the 8.1 system, displaying on the 6.1 system,
> provided I set DISPLAY appropriately on the 8.1 system.  It's only
> the ssh X11 forwarding that's broken, and only in one direction.

Have you tried putting:


in ~/.ssh/environment on the machine that's not setting DISPLAY




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