[winswitch] xpra full desktop

basd basd1 at fastbk.com
Tue May 26 19:00:50 BST 2015

@ Frédéric Henry-Couannier:

While (so far) I think TigerVNC is a better option for full desktop session, here is how I recently
implemented Xpra desktop session:

1.  Run xterm via Start Application Session>Custom Command>xterm

(or, if running a standalone xpra server without winswitch, probably just start the child-xterm, per
the examples at xpra.com)

2.  From xterm, run ""Xephyr :200 &"
3.  Run "DISPLAY=:200 icewm &"

When I do this, #2 opens a Xephyr window, #3 puts an icewm windows manager on it.

(You can pick the desktop provided it is installed on the server: twm, lxsessiom, xfce4-session, etc.)

The desktop window that opens is not resizeable, so if you want dimensions other than the default,
you will need to follow the example at Xpra.org to specify the dimensions of the Xephyr window.

This Xephyr is a child of the xterm application window, so you can't close the xterm without losing
the desktop.

I created a script (xephyr_launch)  in ~/bin on the server as follows:

Xephyr :200 &
DISPLAY=:200 icewm &

So, if I start the custom application "xterm" and in xterm run "xephyr_launch", the icewm desktop
opens.  In this manner, it is possible to save the Xephyr settings and not retype them every
startup.  Or, have alternatives tht launch different desktops, so one could have "icewm_launch" and
"xfce_launch" or the like.

Alternatively, one could have a "menu" script in ~/bin from which you can have a single key launch
for different options, such as "[i] = icewm [x] = xfce" and provide calls to launch the selected

I have not figured out if I can create a script that I can run "xephyr_launch" that will launch the
desktop without the xterm window.  I think I can probably do something like "xterm -e Xephyr :200 &
DISPLAY=:200 icewm &" in my script and launch the whole thing from "xephyr_launch".  I think I did
successfully launch xterm

However, I'm not certain because in my testing I keep locking up the X server/display :200 or
crashing my server altogether.  I'll report back if I ever get it right.

(I have determined that custom command will not launch "xterm -e xephyr_launch" as this will crash
my server.)


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