Good Unix pranks for kids?

Alexander Clouter alex at
Tue Sep 28 20:29:52 BST 2010

Stefan Scheytt <stefan.scheytt at> wrote:
> Due to parental responsibility, 
Keep saying that to yourself, one day you will believe it :)

> we occasional use x11vnc to have a look at what episode of Hanna 
> Montana our 9-year-old is watching on Youtube today. (Obviously, we 
> ssh into her machine and sudo to run that program.)
> Do you guys know any other fun pranks to play on an unwitting X user from
> a privileged command line?
xeyes is a classic (as already mentioned and especially so fullscreen) 
however more fun I recently found is prodding the web browser to other 

iceweasel --display :0.0 -new-tab
chromium-browser --display :0.0 ^Ctp://

I also like:

DISPLAY=:0.0 xmessage -buttons yes,no got moose?

> I found xcowsay, but it doesn't seem to work right. Always bones out on the
> display issue.
Sounds like you need to set the environment variable 'DISPLAY' and make 
sure there is some ~/.Xauthority action, easiest solution is before 
running any commands, type:

export DISPLAY=:0.0

It's worth slapping your SSH public key into 
'~victim/.ssh/authorized_keys' so you can just log in straight as them.


Alexander Clouter
.sigmonster says: Vitamin C deficiency is apauling.

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