Ubuntu 16.04

Make sure you have installed SSH, X11 and xAuth on a remote server.

sudo apt install -y xorg xauth openssh
sudo sed -i '/ForwardX11/s/.*/ForwardX11 yes/' /etc/ssh/sshd_config
sudo service ssh restart

macOS Sierra

You also need to have X11 on your local machine.

brew cask install xquartz # install X11
ssh -X <remote>
$ xeyes # verify you have X11

You might want to restart macOS if $DISPLAY have empty value.

Plot with matplotlib

Plot a simple graph remotely on Ubuntu 16.04:

import matplotlib.pyplot as plt
plt.plot([1, 2, 3])

If you can’t see any window, add backend settings to ~/.config/matplotlib/matplotlibrc.

backend: TkAgg

or just add few lines to change the backend explicitly:

import matplotlib
import matplotlib.pyplot as plt