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The NX Server runs on the computer that is being remote controlled. The NX Client runs on the machine that is doing the controlling. I believe nxnode is used for starting a new X session rather than connecting to an existing one.
I assumed that the node was so you could run a group of servers together (NX Advanced Server). According to the Nomachine docs here:
7.1 Why do I need to also install NX Client and NX Node on the server machine?
The client is needed because it ships libraries used by the node. The node is needed because it ships tools needed by the server. Furthermore, a machine can be alternatively a node (in a multi-node configuration), a server or both.
Using the NX terminology, a node is the host that runs user sessions. In the case of NX Advanced Server product, there can be multiple nodes, while in all the other NX Server implementations only one node is present in the system, where the NX Server have been installed.
I'm not sure if that actually clarifies anything...
I think I can explain the terminology uses for NX Client, NX Server and NX Node to help you understand it a bit clearer.
NX Client is meant for the client machine that will access the Server/Node machine. The NX Server is the "traffic cop" that routes and manages the connections. The NX Node is the "heavy-lifter" that serves up the actual sessions as directed by the NX Server. In the NX Desktop Server, NX Small Business Server and NX Enterprise Server products both NX Server and NX Node reside on the same machine. So, in these instances, you would need to install NX Client, NX Node and NX Server on the same machine. In gilead's good finding on the web-site this is because NX Client ships libraries needed by NX Node and subsequently NX Node ships libraries for NX Server
In the NX Advanced Server/NX Advanced Node product lines the NX Advanced Server can be a whole separate machine that serves as the "traffic cop." The NX Nodes can then also be separate machines associated to that NX Advanced Server to receive user sessions. The NX Advanced Server would then route sessions to those associated NX Nodes for user sessions as they request connections.
In this scenario the NX Advanced Server needs to have NX Client, NX Node and NX Server installed. The NX Nodes would only need NX Client and NX Node installed.
If it is still unclear please let me know and I will try to explain it further.