Spin up an EC2 instance. For this demo, I used an t2.micro instance with the base amazon Linux AMI.
First connect to our machine. You need to find your EC2 instance public dns. It will be something like:
ec2-1-2-3-4-us-west-1.compute.amazonaws.com. The user is always
ssh -i /path/to/pem_file ec2-1-2-3-4-us-west-1.compute.amazonaws.com
Once on the EC2 machine, I needed to install some packages:
sudo yum install xorg-x11-xauth.x86_64 xorg-x11-server-utils.x86_64
Check that X11 forwarding is enabled for ssh. This was a good reference:
Check that the DISPLAY variable is enabled on the EC2 instance
Login again using ssh with X11 forwarding
ssh -X -i /path/to/pem_file ec2-1-2-3-4-us-west-1.compute.amazonaws.com
And you should be good to go. I could use R remotely from my linux desktop with plots showing up.