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Old 05-03-2004, 01:53 PM   #1
Registered: Nov 2001
Location: Black Mountain , NC
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Linux terminal Server for windows client web browsing?

Just a strange idea I had... and wondering if it is feesible or if someone has already done it.

I used to work in an accounting firm that used Citrix to serve all of there accounting apps to remote offices and it was pretty cool. The coolest thing was I could run linux and using the ICA client I was still able to run Lotus Notes and even NT server admin tools.

I know that there is a Linux Terminal Server Project and I have checked out their website and from what I understand they are concerned with (and have been quite successfull with) connecting to a linux terminal server and run x windows on a thin client.

What I would like to do is block access to web services on my windows xp clients using "Internet Connection Firewall" that comes with XP so that the users can't surf the web with IE. This would save me most of the headaches that spyware, adware and viruses cause me on my windows clients.

Then to give them internet access I would like to be able to give them an icon or just change the IE shortcut to point to a client that would connect to a Linux Terminal Server and run a web browser (Mozilla or Netscape etc...).

Now a bunch of questions pop up in my mind and I'm sure there are more:

1) Is there a (free)windows client that can connect to a Linux Terminal server and run a specific (published) application?

2) What kind of performance are the users going to get running a browser over terminal services?

3) Would this cause my network to slow to a grinding halt?

4) What am I smoking? (Maybe this should have been the first question...)


P.S I may see if I can post this on a forum at I will re-post here if I get any good responses.
Old 05-03-2004, 02:23 PM   #2
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I think I would just setup a transparent proxy on the linux server and make everyone go through there before they get out to the internet. Then you could cache popular sites and filter out sites you don't want them going to. It would probably perform better then trying to run mozilla or netscape over the network through terminal server.

Heck, you could installed Mozilla locally on all there machines as well as run the transparent proxy and I'd think you'd get decent results.
Old 05-03-2004, 02:29 PM   #3
Registered: Nov 2001
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thanks for the response

I don't really care to limit where folks go on the internet, the real reason I want to do this is so that their machine isn't actually making a connection to the internet. The only machine doing that would be ther Linux Terminal Server.

That's the idea anyway...
Old 05-03-2004, 03:23 PM   #4
Registered: Jul 2003
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Yes. There are X server applications for Windows that will do exactly what you want. For instance, you click on an icon and a browser window pops up and that browser is running on a Unix box.

There are some payware applications out there to do this like Hummingbird Exceed and another one that I have used (don't remember the name). For freeware I think Cygwin can do this.

Just block all the clients access to the Internet (preferrably at a common point so you won't have to configure all clients) and allow the Unix box access.

This is a pretty straight forward thing to do and it is used quite often for other applications with the same idea in mind. However, it can be intensive on the network and this is where your infrastructure must be properly configured to support the traffic.
Old 05-03-2004, 08:04 PM   #5
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Exceed is probably the most popular one, and in University we used another one... I think it was called XWin32 and I don't know if it's still around.

Edit: Yep, they're still around, here it is:
Edit2: Here's the company that makes Exceed:

Last edited by chort; 05-03-2004 at 08:09 PM.
Old 09-22-2005, 08:07 AM   #6
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Has anybody implemented such a solution? (running browsers on a separate/isolated server).
Has this been successful?
Are there commercial solutions like these?
Old 09-24-2005, 07:04 PM   #7
Registered: Apr 2004
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In the enterprise i work for, we use ReflectionX to implement X stake to Win32 develoment/desktop systems. We use it for win32 systems to be able to get a remote display of a dektop session (CDE) on Solaris. It might work with no pb to remote display a Linux X session. Its use is easy for the client. You can run a script that launch mozilla when a user logg in.

However, about your project, maybe it would be a good idea to block the user from using IE, install Mozilla onto each win32 workstations, and run a proxy server as Squid on a linux machine.

I think your main pb here is not to technically make your users to be able to use another browser. It much more about making it easy for them.
I noticed how much users are conditionned by windows ergonomy. You can give them a better tool with extra-features, but they could dismiss your project by not practically agreeing with it.


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