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evank 05-10-2006 01:56 PM

remote access to linux gui -- all options?
I've just set up a Gentoo server for my company, with gdm and gnome for a desktop environment right there at the terminal. additionally, ive installed openssh rather than telnet.

it appears i'm one of the few people at my company that isnt deathly afraid of a command line, so I'd like to allow people to log into the GUI remotely. i'm trying to decide the best way to do this, however, and the options (as i understand them, correct me if im wrong) are as follows:

Option 1: XDMCP
on the plus side, this would allow users to log in remotely using the graphical gdm and never have to deal with an ugly command line.
on the minus side, its horribly insecure as I understand it.

Option 2: X11 Forwarding via SSH
on the plus side, its highly secure as compared to XDMCP.
on the minus side, users would have to login via command line and then are only given an xterm from which they can launch individual apps, as opposed to logging in with gdm into a desktop enviro? (this is all i could manage to do with xmingw + plink, if theres a way to do what i need via this route, for the love of god, tell me how! :cry: )

Option 3: RealVNC
to be honest, i dont understand much about VNC...would i be able to login via gdm? is it secure?

I guess what I'm looking for is a secure equivalent of XDMCP, if that's possible.

if there's a better way than any of these, please enlighten me. i'm certainly no newbie, but i am definately far from a linux expert, so if someone could help guide me in the right direction, i would be grateful!

haertig 05-10-2006 04:00 PM

Option 4: FreeNX

Blows away any VNC variant in speed.

Free server here:

And free client here:

[edit] p.s. - Think of FreeNX as Option 2, that, for the love of God, does what you want! ;) [/edit]

cs-cam 05-10-2006 08:57 PM

FreeNX - VNC sends everything (including passwords) in clear text so it's out at least for me. You can tunnel it over SSH I believe but why would you when FreeNX is better anyway? Not sure how it goes on a low-bandwidth connection though, VNC handles that pretty well from my experience.

haertig 05-10-2006 10:14 PM


Originally Posted by cs-cam
Not sure how it goes on a low-bandwidth connection though...

My upload speeds from home are really bad. 160kbps. Even with that poor speed, I can login from work to home, using FreeNX, and run a Gnome desktop at near local speed. The lag is very minimal. My connection from home is fixed wireless, so in addition to the slow uploads, it drops lots of packets too. Still, FreeNX is wonderful even under these conditions.

evank 05-11-2006 12:51 AM

freenx sounds like the way to go, im just having some issues configuring it...public/private keypairs make my head hurt :eek:

anyway, i'll get it figured out. thanks guys for taking the time to reply, and thanks, haertig, for the superior solution!

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