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Old 05-12-2006, 11:18 PM   #1
The MJ
Registered: Dec 2005
Posts: 41

Rep: Reputation: 15
Arrow Open Source equivalent of GoToMyPC?

It is hard for me to ask for help like this, because I'm not exactly sure what I need help on.

I want to have a laptop I can carry with me outside my LAN that would function as sort of "remote screen" for my behemoth home computer.
Ideally something like GoToMyPC

I have herd of "VNC" and "tunneling X through SSH" but I cant find any friendly tutorials on the subject. I have experimented with the VNC server that comes with my distro, but the best I've been able to do is get a barebones xserver across the LAN.

Both my home computer and my laptop are using Fedora Core 4
I am connected via DSL

If anyone could show me what I need to do, or even point me towards a nice tutorial, I would greatly appreciate it.
Old 05-13-2006, 04:46 AM   #2
Senior Member
Registered: Jul 2004
Location: Denmark
Distribution: Ubuntu, Debian
Posts: 1,524

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Install sshd on the behemoth, making sure to allow X forwarding ("X11Forwarding yes" in /etc/ssh/sshd_config on my debian machine). Install ssh on the laptop. Connect as "ssh -X".

On debian, ssh and sshd are in the same package. That may or may not be the case for FC 4, so have a look in whatever archive you're grabbing them in.

hth --Jonas
Old 05-14-2006, 04:07 PM   #3
Registered: Mar 2004
Location: Kitchener, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 386

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In my experience, X-forwarding over ssh is painfully slow; I would very much recommend VNC. You can install VNC server through yum and make sure it's turned on via system-config-services. You'll need a static IP or to install something like ddclient and register with a service like for a URL (for free). It's pretty complicated to set up for the first time, but once you get it down, it's a great service. You may also want to look into vino if you're accessing an already active desktop.
Old 05-14-2006, 04:56 PM   #4
The MJ
Registered: Dec 2005
Posts: 41

Original Poster
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I have ssh and sshd installed, I have X11Forwarding set to yes
I am amazed that the command could be as easy as ssh -X username@ip
Thanks, I will try that

I have realVNC client and server all installed on both machines, all set up and everything
I have a url at
I have ddclient (although for some reason it won't start, I'll fix it I guess)

How do i start an x server with all the gnome stuff using VNC? I was able to get a barebones xserver, but as i quickly found out, X isn't very useful without gnome or kde.

I will look into vino. How does that compare to the others speed-wise?

EDIT: vino is awesome. very gooey Will the standard vnc give me any speed improvement or should I just quit while I'm ahead?

Last edited by The MJ; 05-14-2006 at 05:14 PM.
Old 05-14-2006, 09:52 PM   #5
Senior Member
Registered: Dec 2005
Location: Florida
Distribution: CentOS/Fedora
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also if you are running KDE as your desktop ( IIRC the defauult for the FC line is gnome though) you can just use the RDP built into KDE and access it that way too.

yes ssh -X is one of the extreemly powerful tools of Linux that windows and OSx just can not touch.

VNC is nice, but i prefer ssh -X or RDP as for me VNC has always been slower in performance then either of the other 2.
Old 05-15-2006, 01:02 AM   #6
Registered: Jun 2004
Location: Cala city
Distribution: Suse 10.0; Debian 5.0 (Lenny) Fluxbox
Posts: 240

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Depending on what you are doing, I would go with ssh. I use it from school all the time, and I don't have to worry about security as much.
Old 07-12-2006, 08:03 AM   #7
LQ Newbie
Registered: Jul 2006
Posts: 4

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Security is important while accessing internet...

Last edited by emily_tech06; 07-12-2006 at 08:14 AM.
Old 07-12-2006, 08:10 AM   #8
LQ Newbie
Registered: Jul 2006
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For anyone who finds themselves in need of the services that a product like RDC, VNC or GoToMyPc can provide but donít want to pay more, I would like to recommend this remote access product called RemotePC, an excellent replacement for such remote access needs.

Using RemotePC you can access a computer on any network, both behind firewalls and proxy servers which restrict direct connection attempts. The host computer need not have any static IP address too.

RemotePC is capable of transferring files/ folders between the computers. It also has Remote Printing ability where you can print your remote files using your local printer.
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Old 07-12-2006, 08:28 AM   #9
Senior Member
Registered: May 2004
Location: Albuquerque, NM USA
Distribution: Debian-Lenny/Sid 32/64 Desktop: Generic AMD64-EVGA 680i Laptop: Generic Intel SIS-AC97
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I would like to recommend this remote access product called RemotePC,...
Near as I can tell, It costs a lot of money, is only available on a lease, and only works on Windows.
Old 08-25-2006, 08:39 PM   #10
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Registered: Aug 2006
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Gotomypc was great except that (1) the server (not the viewer) only runs on Windows and (2) it costs $14.95 / mnth but after canceling they offered it for $9.95 which I did for a few months. It actually is a great service and I highly recommend it for non-techies as a quick way to get a remote solution. I used it for a year because my corporate firewall/proxy-server blocked standard SSH, VNC and RDP. However, this month I finally figured out how to get past the proxy/firewall with the following solution. Hope it helps convey some (free!) alternative solutions to Gotomypc and RemotePC. However, the following lengthy work-around is not recommended for non-techies (when the corporate firewall/proxy blocks RDP/VNC/SSH).

Originally posted at www(dot)mepis(dot)org/node/7876.

gotomypc vs (vnc/RDP/SSH tunneling)
Submitted by jacklh on Thu, 11/10/2005 - 16:54.

I noticed some people knocking GoToMyPC in this thread in favor of the free VNC and other remote software (RDP, etc). I used to knock gotomypc since I too would rather NOT pay for something that is available freely. However, I am thanking GoToMyPC now. I recently joined a new company (a bank) where security is obviously VERY high. Sadly, virtually all ports are blocked by their firewall and internet traffic goes through their proxy server (no RDP TSWEB via IIS allowed). I can't VNC, RDP (direct or via IIS/TSWEB) or even tunnel VNC or RDP via SSH, and I've even tried re-assigning VNC, RDP, SSH to ports above 50000 (in case only lower ports were being blocked). But no dice -- until I learned that SSL connections were allowed through, and so now I use GoToMyPC exclusively when at work. Not as fast as RDP, but right up there with VNC, and at times better on the redraw than RealVNC and about the same or better than UltraVNC. (I have a cable modem at home with 384Kb upstream so your mileage may vary.) So, just treat GoToMyPC as another tool (SSL) in the VNC/RDP/SSH/remote-software toolkit. To save on money, perhaps I will spend some time researching SSL servers for Linux and see if I can just create my own SSL server (or whatever that entails) and some day tunnel SSH (and therefore RDP/VNC) connections directly to my linux server and by-pass GoToMyPC altogether. But until then... (And if anyone has info on how to create an SSL server EASILY and CHEAPLY, I'm all ears.)

-- Jack
Ľ reply | quote
Submitted by Pohjola on Fri, 11/11/2005 - 01:07.

Maybe stunnel can help. Change ports and use browser if needed. There must be a way.
Ľ reply | quote
If there's a will...
Submitted by jacklh on Thu, 08/24/2006 - 21:42.

Happy to report that a way has been found, and thanks for the clue to look into stunnel. While I didn't end up having to use stunnel afterall, it did lead me down the right path. (And would also be an alternative solution.) Here's what I ultimately did to get this working.

BACKGROUND: The corporate firewall/proxy blocks all but traffic on port 80 (HTTP) and 443 (HTTPS) after authenticating with one's proxy logid/password credentials per connection. After a bit of testing, I discovered that the proxy allowed SSH connections on HTTPS' TCP port 443. (Oddly, it didn't allow it out on port 80.) With this in mind, I did the following:

1. Run your preferred SSH server on linux (or Windows using cygwin/openssh)
2. Set home router to forward WAN/public HTTPS port 443 to LAN/private Linux box's SSH port 22. (Alternatively, you can just set SSHD to run on port 443. Besure router and
linux firewall allow the appopriate ports.)
3. On corporate client PC install latest putty.exe (or SSH client)
4. In some cases, for the hostname field, do not use a hostname -- only IP address will be understood.
5. Set port to 443
6. In Putty, select Connection > Proxy:
Proxy type: HTTP
Proxy hostname:
Port: 80
7. Click on session, give the Saved Sessions field a name and Save for future use.
8. You may now connect to your linux server and using Putty's TUNNEL config menu, tunnel other protocols, such
as RDP, VNC, X11, etcetera securely over SSH. For example, I set a tunnel for local port 3390 (arbitrary) to tunnel to pc-hostname:3389. I then open RDP and connect to "localhost:3390". Putty's already listening for connections on the corporate workstation's 3390. Once it sees my RDP connection, it grabs it, tunnels it down the SSH pipe to my linux server at home, and from there forwards it to "pc-hostname", port 3389 (the RDP port). My PC then establishes the RDP connection.

For my linux box, I just run 'x11vnc -usepw -display :0' or 'vncserver :1'. In Putty I set a tunnel for local 5900 to localhost:5900, or local 5901 to localhost:5901 (respectively) and then have my corporate workstation run VNCViewer and connect to "localhost:0" or "localhost:1" (respectively) and viola, I have VNC access to my linux box as well. (Change default compression to HexTiles for best performance.)

NOTE: The only caveat is that one must ensure
your local ISP allows incoming port 443. I am aware that some ISPs, like Cox Communications, block
home users from receiving data on some (or all) ports below 1024 (so you would only be able to run servers above 1024, but since proxy/firewall doesn't allow anything but 443 through, you are ----- out.); however, SBC/ATT DSL does allow at least 80 and 443 in my case.

I can now cancel gotomypc. Possibly because of the compression done by SSH (Putty), I have noticed that my RDP and VNC refresh-rate is at times better in performance than gotomypc. (Plus the fact that I'm connecting directly to my home instead of having gotomypc's servers as a middle-man.) All I know is I'm finally free of monthly fees and can once again connect to my home Linux and Windows workstations!



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