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I have a machine running Debian, which I can connect to using an XDMCP session in XMing on my WinXP PC(which is actually dual booted with Debian). No problems there.
I would like to be able to connect to the same Debian machine, from my PC when booted with Debian, but I cannot work out what app I need which will give me the same XDMCP functionality as XMing does in WinXP (ie I simply say "open an XDMCP session to machine IP xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx" and it gives me that, in a window, in my current OS). Is there such an app, or is there no need for one in Linux and I am barking up the wrong tree?
If you want to open a session to this other machine in a window, you'll want to look at xnest. Personally, I don't like to have this in a window, I prefer to have it full screen. This can be achieved by starting another x-server as root.
I'm not sure about the latest debian, but my gdm login screen has some menus on the lower left, where one of the items is connecting to a different machine. Most distributions nowadays have a "switch user" menu item somewhere in their panels, which would allow you to access the login screen while already logged in.
(a menu item for this command appeared after I installed xnest), and it looks great...up to a point. I can connect to the remote machine using the XDMCP chooser, and get the login screen up. However once I have entered my username and password, the Xnest window disappears and the process appears to have died. I have tried running gdmflexiserver in debug mode, but this only appears to be any good for starting up the server, as it seems to disconnect from the console quite quickly, and therefore no debug information is being written to the console at the point of the "crash". Is there somewhere I could look for log files perhaps?
Personally, I don't like to have this in a window, I prefer to have it full screen. This can be achieved by starting another x-server as root.
For a newbie, could you tell me how I start another x-server as root, and how I could switch between the two? This would certainly be acceptable, although if I could get Xnest working it looks like exactly what I'm after. I can just select log in as another user on my Debian menu (without logging the current user out), then using the XDMCP chooser on the login screen I can connect to my remote machine. However, once there, I can't see any way of switching back to my original desktop without disconnecting from the remote machine. Is there some simple way to do this that I am overlooking?
I tried to reproduce your steps with the gdmflexiserver. For me, the window disappears too, but then reappears shortly therafter containing my desktop. I have no idea why this doesn't work for you. I tried to locate some logs that could provide info, but so far I've not been successfull.
If I read the rest of your post correctly, you have been able to connect to the remote host in full-screen mode using the "switch user" feature. All that is left is switching back and forth.
This last part is quite easy. You need to know that linux has several virtual consoles (vc's), which can be reached by pressing CTRL-ALT-Fx, with Fx some function key. Whatever is on such a console is distribution dependent, so you'll have to experiment a little. A standard configuration would be for the first six virtual consoles (which can be reached by pressing CTRL-ALT-F1 to CTRL-ALT-F6) to contain a text-mode login screen. VC seven will likely contain your primary GUI (i.e. the local host in you default configuration), so press CTRL-ALT-F7 to switch to that. The GUI of your remote host is likely to be on VC eight, so press CTRL-ALT-F8 to switch to the remote.
When using these shortcuts, you have to be a little bit careful. As you are probably aware CTRL-ALT-DEL will reboot your system, and CTRL-ALT-BACKSPACE will kill your X-session instantly. So watch those fingers ;-)
Ctrl-Alt-F7 and Ctrl-Alt-F8 have sorted me out beautifully, thanks! Now I can switch between my remote and local machine simply, and the only thing I have to worry about now is remembering which machine I'm working on at any given moment...
I am trying to do the same thing except do it over the internet.
I would be very interested in knowing how you have your system set up to allow you to connect because I can't for the life of me figure out what I'm doing wrong.
Let me be the first to warn you that XDMCP across the internet is considered to be a no-no due to its lack of encryption.
There, I said it.
You may want to check your XDMCP settings on your Debian machine to ensure that it explicitly allows connections outside of your local network. Since there are various display managers and configuration files associated with XDMCP, I'll have to let you sort out that end of things.
In the past I was able to connect using Xming and XDMCP over OpenVPN (which should allay the encryption concerns, but also, for all intents and purposes, allayed the local lan concerns, as well.)
Might I also suggest considering installing OpenSSH on your windows machine and accomplishing your X forwarding needs thusly?