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binary_dreamer 12-19-2006 12:38 AM

remote desktop+ssh
Hi, i am running sarge at home and i want to access it (remote desktop) from a windows box at work. I can access it through ssh, but i do not know what to do to see the X11 session. The problem is that in the windows box i cannot install anything at all. any ideas?

Shaddy 12-19-2006 01:05 AM


if it's really just the reason you want X11 for installing, why don't you use aptitude? I install software with aptitude even in X11 as I think this is the best solution.
If you want to access your computer with a graphical interface, try nomachine server and client. I found this software some weeks ago and I'm really excited as you don't need to open an additional port at your firewall and all traffic is encrypted via ssh.

Just download the NX Free Edition at for debian, install it with

dpkf -i packagename

in order: client - node - server, and that's all. You must start the server with /usr/NX/bin/nxserver.
Now you can access you computer from every client, the nxclient is installed on.

As alternative you can use VNC. The sources should be included your standard apt-sources. The packages are named something like xvncserver and vncclient. With that you have some gimmicks like accessing your X11 via a java-enabled browser (vnc-java).

Best regards


MarvTowel 12-19-2006 01:13 AM

ssl-explorer and VNC
SSL Explorer ( is a web browser based SSL-VPN client that doesn't require any software to be installed on your work computer. Once you have made the VPN connection, you should be able to use a VNC client like RealVNC to get a remote desktop connection. I realize that still may be a problem since you can't install RealVNC on you work PC, but some companies have it installed already for help desk support. A quick check of their forum shows that there is an UltraVNC extension for SSLExplorer. That would probably cover all of the bases in one package, I haven't configured it before though.

Good luck!

EDIT - Shaddy posted just before I did and has a much easier solution with vnc-java, although I don't know if it encrypts the connection.

jschiwal 12-19-2006 02:56 AM

If you could install cygwin/x, you could access a Linux/Unix machine using "ssh -X". However, since you can't install any software, the only way to run x11 on your windows machine is to boot up using a live distro.

Shaddy 12-19-2006 03:06 AM

You don't need to install nxclient on the client, it's still enough to copy the executables. I'm using nxclient on a client in university, where I also have no rights to install.

By the way, I think NX is the simplest way of getting a remote X.



binary_dreamer 12-19-2006 03:25 AM

being honest with you, you lost me now. Could you tell me please, a solution to my problem?

yanik 12-19-2006 08:19 AM

apt-get install x11vnc.


nixbox:/home/yanik# dpkg -l |grep  vnc
ii  tightvnc-java                    1.2.7-4                        TightVNC java applet and command line progra
ii  tightvncserver                    1.2.9-21                        virtual network computing server software
ii  vnc-common                        3.3.7-13                        Virtual network computing server software
ii  x11vnc                            0.8.2-1                        VNC server which uses your current X11 sessi

I can even access my desktop thru the web with http://myip:5800.

I use it like this:

x11vnc -httpdir /usr/share/tightvnc-java/ -forever -q -bg -rfbauth /home/yanik/.somefile -display :0

Shaddy 12-19-2006 12:25 PM

OK, to give a summary:

You have to choose between three solutions:

1) NXServer - NXClient
2) VNC-Server - VNC-Client

I'll summarize these two approaches:

1) To get a running system, you'll have to install the debian packages free for download from For your "server" you need nxclient, nxnode and nxserver packages in this order to install. Nothing else to do on your server.
If you want to connect from a windows client, you need to install nxclient for windows, also available at given link. If you don't have administrator rights, which are required for installing, you can also copy the program files from an already installed system. If you don't have these files, I can send you via email. If you have these files, you can connect your running server via the ssh-port 20. You said you have already a working ssh connection to your server, so you don't need any additional port to open, the ssh port forwards the request automatically to the running server application, fully transparent, you won't notice.

2) You install vncserver on your "server" (your pc at home) and configure it to your requirements. In addition, as VNC uses another port (I think 5900) you'll have to forward this port on your router, if exists, and open this port on your firewall (if exists). Then, you can connect this vnc-server from work, if you have vncviewer (a vnc-client) installed on your pc at work. As nice gimmick you can install a packet which let you access your vnc-server via a java-enabled web browser, so you don't need to have a vnc-client running on your pc at work. Nice for you, but it's unsafe as vnc doesn't encrypt your traffic, so your login-password will be transported via your work's LAN and the internet in plaintext.
More contra: VNC isn't performant as NX. Don't ask e why, but the NX-protocoll is much more efficient.

3) Cygwin just emulates a UNIX/Linux environment on your windows client. Within this environment you can connect your private pc via ssh as usual, but in addition you can connect with 'ssh -X' which results in a X11-forwarding, which means all applications started in the ssh-session will open on your client at work. If you call 'konqueror' it will open on your windows client. But this causes a lot of traffic, therefore it is quite slow, even with broadband internet.

I have been walking the same road you're on, and in my believe NX is the best way to solve your problem. Now the decision is on you, this is just my oppinion. If you ask jschiwal he will argue ssh -X is the best, yanik maybe will argue for VNC. Thats nice in linux: There are different ways of solving a given problem. You have to decide which solution fits best your specific problem.

Hope this can help you


binary_dreamer 12-20-2006 02:47 AM

i have found the vnc version of viewer that does not need to get installed. i think that will solve the problem

binary_dreamer 02-06-2007 02:06 AM

I did install the vncserver. I did set up the password (vncpasswd). Every time i start the vncviewer to see it from the lan or from the internet all i see is a window, the cursor and a terminal. How do i make it to see the actual desktop?i am using kde and gnome, depending on the situation.

nx5000 02-06-2007 05:08 AM


Originally Posted by jschiwal
If you could install cygwin/x, you could access a Linux/Unix machine using "ssh -X". However, since you can't install any software, the only way to run x11 on your windows machine is to boot up using a live distro.

You don't need admin rights to install cygwin AFAIK

To see the actual screen, you need x11vnc on your remote host.

* You ssh -X user@remote.ip.address from cygwin (not sure if its -X or -Y) to log in. It seems you already can do this as you get a terminal already.

*Then you need to start the x11VNC server on the remote:
I use this (your mileage may vary..)

./x11vnc -bg -forever -o ./x11vnc.log -display :0 -localhost -nobell -solid root:lightsteelblue -scale 1/2 $*

*Then start the client
I use this (..)
enc="copyrect tight hextile zlib corre rre raw"
./vncviewer -encodings "$enc" :0 $*

Should do

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