Running X w/o X (Oracle client install)

Tim Chase blinux.list at
Thu Sep 9 12:55:16 UTC 2004

If you have a couple options for satisfying a need for X.

1) If you want to send things remotely to the machine from which 
you're SSH'ing, you need an X server running on your local 
machine.  There have been steps taken by the Cygwin folks to get 
this working in Windows, but I've not tried it.  Last time I 
tried this, I used a non-free package by the name of Reflection 
to provide an X server under Windows.

2) If you really need to connect to an X server, but don't have a 
"real" X server, you can configure X to use the "Xvfb" driver 
which creates a virtual frame-buffer.  This would be, as your 
"subject" line suggests "X without X."  From the man page:

"Xvfb is an X server that can run on machines with no display 
hardware and no physical input devices. It emulates a dumb 
framebuffer using virtual memory."

I recommend against simply finding some random machine proving an 
X server over which you have no control and just setting your 
DISPLAY variable to point at it, as things may get displayed to 
that machine without notifying you.  Or there may be security 
concerns if it provides some sort of administrative dialog that 
comes to the person sitting in front of the X display rather than 
coming to you.

3) You might be able to get away without X at all, if the Oracle 
program/install in question has some obscure option (like Vim 
does) to forego detection of X.  You'd have to check out their 
documentation on this to see if they provide such an option.

4) Lastly, if getting "Xvfb" set up is a problem, but your 
install automatically can configure a regular X setup, just let 
it start, and then use ctrl+alt+F1 to get back to your first 
virtual console.  X will run in the background, making Oracle 
happy, (and slupring down a few system resources, but it 
shouldn't be too bad) yet you have your regular console interface 
at VC 1 through whatever.

Hope this helps,


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