Ubuntu command line installation + minimal X.

Charles Curley charlescurley at charlescurley.com
Sun Apr 6 22:19:26 MDT 2008

On Sun, Apr 06, 2008 at 05:11:52PM -0600, Clint Savage wrote:
> >
> > Actually, if I install Emacs before I install X, it will run just fine
> > as a console application. If you have X and the full up Emacs you can
> > run it in an xterm with the "-nw" switch.
> >
> > I'd like to avoid recompiling, as my motive for all this is to be
> > able to re-install quickly from time to time, e.g. for testing
> > purposes.
> >
> Charles,
> My point wasn't that Emacs wouldn't run without X, but rather that
> the distribution you run (Ubuntu is my guess) requires X libs to be
> installed as a dependency.  Now I could be wrong, but wasn't that
> the point of your request?  To run Emacs over ssh?

What I want to do is run Emacs as an X application on a headless box
over SSH. I figure this requires enough of X, etc. to support Emacs,
and no more.

> Or did you want to run emacs in GUI mode over an ssh connection
> without requiring the X libs?  If that is the case, have you tried
> just forwarding X over ssh using the -X switch in ssh and then
> running the GUI on your system.  It should work, but again, I'm not
> sure what requirements would be made to have the GUI components
> installed.

SSH intercepts the X client-server traffic at the IP level. So in
theory all I need is the client (Emacs) side of X on the headless
box. Unfortunately the good folks at Debian seen to package the whole
kazoo, client and sever, together. OK, I can live with that.

(I'm using X terminology here: the program is the client, and the
server is the keyboard and monitor. They can be on the same or
different machines. Unfortunately the terminology gets confusing. If
you use SSH, then the X client [the program] runs on the SSH server,
and the X server is on the SSH client. Got that?)

Emacs doesn't have to have the X libs to run; if it doesn't find them
it happily runs as a console application. If it finds them, it will
use them. Try running Emacs in a console.

One thing I don't understand (among many) is why installing Emacs
causes aptitude to uninstall a bunch of stuff I had just installed.

Yes, this is Ubuntu.


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