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460 posts

Ultimate Geek
Inactive user

Topic # 12780 4-Apr-2007 21:38
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After many a screwing around and fiddling with things I have finally found a decent, simple solution for logging into your Linux or any X-windows environment over the internet just like Windows Remote Desktop/Terminal Services.

X-windows is designed to be a network protocol and in itself is fast & leet. But applications & things slow it down BIG TIME. And there is alot of wasted information going back/fowards.

I found this software called NX. What it basically is, is an X server which talks to a program that translates the X windows information into a lightweight, compressed, encrypted protocol which gets sent over SSH.

On the client end (in this case Windows XP) there is a client which renders the screen. The client is 5MB on Windows, and needs only a host:port of a computer with SSH and x-windows. The client is basically a small cygwin and ssh and a few other goodies.

X-windows raw over the internet is totally unusable. However this system makes it awesomely zawesomely. Its fast as Windows Remote Desktop.

On this website there is a commerical, a freeware, and open source versions available. Clients for Linux/Windows/Mac etc.

It actually went so far as giving me OpenGL in software mode. This let me run Google Earth at a barely usable speed on only a 115kbit connection.

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3 posts

Wannabe Geek

  Reply # 69038 1-May-2007 12:01
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Have you tried VNC (or any variants) for this task? - I had not used it until a friend recently needed to remote control a computer on his home LAN. [Disclaimer: I have no knoweldge of Internet performance, only LAN service which is more predictable to be sure...]

RealVNC response was nearly amazing given the 'server' iron was an aging piece...

460 posts

Ultimate Geek
Inactive user

  Reply # 69479 4-May-2007 03:29
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Yeah VNC has a serious drawback in that it is only really a framebuffer based protocol and doesn't do very much stuff. As a result it goes really slowly over low-bandwidth links.

I'd used VNC and it more or less just died over my 115kbit link. Using Remote Desktop, which is different from VNC in that it remembers things about window geometry, text & icons etc worked very well. Even enough to stream audio at the same time over the same link.

NX basically allows X windows to be as fast as RDP (remote desktop protocol) using optimization and compression and caching. It's very quick, and somewhat more extensible than Remote desktop in that you can choose to just run a specific program.

For example while I'm away from home I have a USB key with the NX client for Windows on it. I can load up the NX client and connect securely to my home computer's email program (Thunderbird in Linux).

The NX client uses SSH as its transport mechanism so I don't have to leave an additional port open. It just goes right through the SSH on my home computer & pulls my email program, which displays on my local machine. It's been very handy so far.

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