Last week I read an article in this month’s Linux Magazine on remote desktop access via NX Free. While Ubuntu ships with a great client for Windows Terminal Services and VNC, NX free is more powerful in that it gives you full access to a Linux desktop environment, including such things as sounds. Unlike VNC, which requires extra effort to secure, NX Free runs over SSH, so encryption is built in.
The Linux Magazine article focused on installing from the tarball, but I decided to see how good the DEB packages were. I started by heading to http://www.nomachine.com/download.php and clicked on the “NX Free Edition for Linux” link. I grabbed the “NX Free Edition for Linux DEB – i386“, then grabbed all three downloads for the Client, Node, and Server. Following the instructions on the site, I then dropped to a terminal and issued the following:
sudo dpkg -i nxclient_3.0.0-89_i386.deb; sudo dpkg -i nxnode_3.0.0-93_i386.deb; sudo dpkg -i nxserver_3.0.0-79_i386.deb
Bam! Done. Since I already have an NX server on my Dapper Drake box, I clicked Applications | Internet | NX Client for Linux | NX Client for Linux.
When prompted for a session, I entered my server’s name (foundation) as the Session and as the host. Since I’m on a LAN connection to the machine, I cranked up the connection speed to “LAN” and clicked Next.
On the next page, I chose GNOME as my desktop environment, and clicked Next, then Finish. At the login screen, I entered my username and password for the remote box, and clicked Login. Note that the DEB package appears to disable guest logins by default, a prudent security measure which you apparently have to take yourself when installing from tarball.
Click Connect and that’s it! You have a copy of the remote machine’s desktop. Easy peasy, boss. But what’s really neat is that, since I already have SSH access enabled through my firewall to this server, I can now access its desktop remotely as well. It doesn’t get much better than this.