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Can MATLAB with a network license, be accessed over X11 by SSH clients?

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I recently installed MATLAB R2022A on macOS, replacing an older Mac with an old 2017 installation. The license is a Network Named User license, and the license is working. However, we are having a problem with using MATLAB over X11. I should note that X11 is working in general, with both IDL and xeyes working over the same client-host connection, so this is a MATLAB configuration or application issue.
MATLAB works when used locally on the new Mac by a named user. It opens graphically when the app is double-clicked, and in Terminal we can call the $MATLABROOT/bin/matlab binary, which also opens the GUI app.
When users SSH into the system and use that binary, MATLAB opens headlessly. This is also true when they use the "-desktop" argument (which should not be needed, but we tested). Additionally, when we run MATLAB in this headless mode and then use the command "desktop" receive an error message:
/Applications/ -desktop
< M A T L A B (R) >
Copyright 1984-2022 The MathWorks, Inc.
R2022a Update 3 ( 64-bit (maci64)
June 2, 2022
To get started, type doc.
For product information, visit
>> desktop
Error using desktop
The Desktop is not available in this configuration
Error in desktop
I called Mathworks over this issue and received a reply that they didn't provide assurance of remote usability, or support for remote usage.
In MATLAB 2017 this was all seamless. A user would see the application GUI over X11 when the user executed the binary over SSH.
Does MATLAB still allow an option for X11 from a macOS host to macOS clients, and if so, what are we doing wrong?

Answers (1)

Prateekshya on 8 Sep 2023
Hi Marshall,
As per my understanding, you are trying to use MATLAB over X11 and you are unable to do so. There are a few ways to troubleshoot the issue you are facing.
  1. It seems there is some problem in installation. Please check the installations and verify that everything is done properly. You may look at this for more information:
  2. You can use MATLAB Online which allows you to access MATLAB through a web browser from any device, including macOS. With MATLAB Online, you can use the MATLAB desktop remotely without the need for X11 forwarding. You can access MATLAB Online here:
  3. You can use a remote desktop solution like VNC (Virtual Network Computing) to access the MATLAB desktop remotely. By setting up a VNC server on the macOS machine where MATLAB is installed and using a VNC client on the remote machine, you can establish a graphical remote connection and access the MATLAB desktop with full functionality. You may go through the following links:
I hope this helps!


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