Howto: Running Firefox Remotely

Firefox gets a big bite out of your memory doesn’t it? So why not run it remotely?

That’s what I thought when I began my search on how to run firefox remotely. I also thought I was going in search of trouble and scary stuff but guess what, it’s easier than I could ever imagine.

Just do an ssh to the remote machine giving the options -Y and -C. The Y stands for X11 forwarding while the C requests compression of all data (including stdin, stdout, etc..).

ssh -YC

And then on the remote shell issue:

firefox -width 100

And you’re done! How easy was that? The “-width” parameter is necessary to trick the “firefox” shell script wrapper, but it won’t influence the width of the firefox window. Don’t forget to copy your .mozilla directory so you can run firefox with your profile and keep your bookmarks, etc.

For me, with my old 320 RAM laptop from 2001, this is great news :-) And as you might guess this isn’t limited to firefox, you can run any application you’d like.

Be sure to have this options on /etc/ssh/ssh_config:

Host *
ForwardAgent yes
ForwardX11 yes

And these ones on /etc/ssh/sshd_config:

X11Forwarding yes
X11DisplayOffset 10
X11UseLocalhost no
TCPKeepAlive yes
Compression yes

And that’s it. I’m using firefox remotely now to write on this blog and it’s fast and smooth :-)