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You can initiate an ssh connection with dynamic port forwarding, and then tunnel an X session over that. That's how I remotely access all the services on my box. All my services LISTEN on the localhost adapter only, except sshd. To get to any of these services from outside, I use ssh dynamic port forwarding (which provides a SOCKS-like interface to the client) and tunnel over that. ssh provides the authentication and encryption. I don't need a web browser for remote X sessions, but I do if I want to tunnel in to the webserver.
let's imagine that i'm in the 'net cafe. i don't have access to any system controls, not even wallpaper changing, i can't run external apps. in this situation any portable ssh client app is useless. the only thing i can do is to browse internet and download things to my memory stick. the system running is windoze xp. it doesn't have anything that i can use to connect to my computer.
the program i'm looking for is supposed to give me an image of my gnome desktop and let me control it. it could be something that uses java or flash. i hope i described it clearer than the last time.
IF you have the ability, and don't mind installing webmin, it has a nice ssh/http module available called "shell in a box"... works quite nicely on SLES (and provided that you setup webmin with ssl it's a bit more secure)
Oops!*** missed the bit about having access to the gnome desktop... my suggestion will only give you shell access thru a browser
As pwc101 said, look into VNC. I have never used it from a web browser myself, but I seem to remember that this is supported somehow.
You should realize though, that anytime you use another computer (that you do not control) to access your "secure" server, then you are no longer secure. The risk is there - it may not be great, depending on who's computer you are using - but it is there. You can use YOUR computer and THEIR network fairly securely (if you know what you're doing authentication-wise and encryption-wise), but you can't use THEIR computer. Not telling what's installed on their computer (A keylogger? Trojan ssh client? You just don't know). If you can't use YOUR computer, second best would be to use THEIR computer booting into YOUR OS (boot off a thumbdrive or CD-ROM that YOU control). However, if the provider has any lick of brains they will have already blocked this path. Even if you can successfully boot off your OS, there are still ways they can get your data via hardware keyloggers, etc. Chances are a generic Internet Cafe wouldn't be doing this, but you never know.