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This Dockerfile creates a docker image and once it's executed it creates a container that runs X11 and SSH services. The ssh is used to forward X11 and provide you encrypted data communication between the docker container and your local machine.

Xpra + Xephyr allows to display the applications running inside of the container such as Firefox, LibreOffice, xterm, etc. with recovery connection capabilities. Xpra also uses a custom protocol that is self-tuning and relatively latency-insensitive, and thus is usable over worse links than standard X.

The applications can be rootless, so the client machine manages the windows that are displayed.

Fluxbox and ROX-Filer creates a very minimalist way to manage windows and files.

Docker L

OBS: The client machine needs to have a X11 server installed (Xpra). See the "Notes" below.

Docker Installation

On Ubuntu:

Docker is available as a Ubuntu PPA (Personal Package Archive), hosted on launchpad which makes installing Docker on Ubuntu very easy.

#Add the PPA sources to your apt sources list.
sudo apt-get install python-software-properties && sudo add-apt-repository ppa:dotcloud/lxc-docker
# Update your sources
sudo apt-get update
# Install, you will see another warning that the package cannot be authenticated. Confirm install.
sudo apt-get install lxc-docker

On Windows:


On Mac OS X:



Building the docker image

$ docker build -t rogaha/docker-desktop git://


$ git clone
$ cd docker-desktop
$ docker build -t [username]/docker-desktop .

Running the docker image created (-d: detached mode, -P: expose the port 22 on the host machine)

$ CONTAINER_ID=$(docker run -d -P [username]/docker-desktop)

Getting the password generated during runtime

$ echo $(docker logs $CONTAINER_ID | sed -n 1p)
User: docker Password: xxxxxxxxxxxx
# where xxxxxxxxxxxx is the password created by PWGen that contains at least one capital letter and one number


Getting the container's external ssh port

$ docker port $CONTAINER_ID 22
49153 # This is the external port that forwards to the ssh service running inside of the container as port 22

Connecting to the container

Starting the a new session

$ ifconfig | grep "inet addr:" 
inet addr:  Bcast:  Mask: # This is the LAN's IP for this machine

$ ssh [email protected] -p 49153 "sh -c './docker-desktop -s 800x600 -d 10 > /dev/null 2>&1 &'" # Here is where we use the external port
[email protected]'s password: xxxxxxxxxxxx 

$ ./docker-desktop -h

Usage: docker-desktop [-s screen_size] [-d session_number]
-s : screen resolution (Default = 800x600
-d : session number (Default = 10)
-h : help

Attaching to the session started

$ xpra --ssh="ssh -p 49153" attach ssh:[email protected]:10 # [email protected]_address:session_number
[email protected]'s password: xxxxxxxxxxxx 

If you want to execute rootless programs, you just need to connect to the container via ssh and type: DISPLAY=:[session_number] [program_name] &

Eg. DISPLAY=:10 firefox &


On Windows:


On OS X:


On Linux:


  • Xpra: You can use apt-get to install it -> apt-get install xpra
  • Path: /usr/bin/xpra

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