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On the Mac

  1. Install or update XQuartz.app and start it.

  2. In the Preferences window, activate clipboard synchronization.

  3. Quit XQuartz.app.

  4. In iTerm.app or Terminal.app, connect to your remote machine with:

     $ ssh -X username@host
    

    and see the XQuartz.app icon pop-up in your Dock.

From now on, XQuartz.app will start automatically in the background when you use the -X flag, taking care of the clipboard synchronization for you.

On the remote machine

  1. If you don't already have it, install GVim. On Debian-based systems, use:

     $ sudo apt-get install vim-gtk
    

    The idea is not to use Gvim but installing it gets you everything you need to get clipboard sharing to work:

    • a minimal X
    • a Vim built with clipboard support
  2. In Vim, synchronize the unnamed and clipboard registers by adding this line to ~/.vimrc:

     set clipboard^=unnamed
    
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