I just managed to get a Linux GUI app running on my windows desktop without the need for a virtual machine. This must seem old-hat to Linux pros, but damn it opens up a world of possibilities.
Thanks to Jessie Frazelle’s blog post on running docker containers with guis, and qinwf’s github comment on a moby repo issue, I was able to get linux firefox running from a container.
The steps are pretty simple:
- Install XMing Server (I did so via chocolatey)
- Run ‘XLaunch’ and disable access control.
Run your docker image with the environment variable “DISPLAY” pointing to your hostname and display number. e.g
docker run -e DISPLAY=myhostname:0.0 jess/firefox
:0.0 is just pointing to whatever display has been set up, you can check this in the logs as near the end of the startup sequence, it’ll spit out something like
winClipboardProc - DISPLAY=127.0.0.1:0.0
If that number at the end is different, use that one, I suppose.
While my example has been done with Docker, doing exactly the same for a linux desktop should be no problem either. You could even just invoke application startup via ssh commands, or forward your whole x-windows content, I suppose. I’ll have to try that next.