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Old 08-07-2008, 04:57 PM   #1
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remote login to a linux system

I'm a real newbie!

I installed centOS 5 and VMware server 1.06 with reasonable ease. I have an XP virtual machine and a Win 2003 server machine working well within the centOS/Vmserver environment. My virtual machines are accessable via "Remote desktop" as intended, but I have no clue as to how to access the Linux OS. I tried "Remote desktop" to no avail.

I bring the net into a switch with 2 routers behind the switch. Router 1 serves one virtual machine and router 2 serves the second virtual machine.

There are 2 nic cards with linux addresses of and The first virtual machine is addressed as and the second as The routers are port forwarding to the virtual machine addresses. ( and (FTP/TELNET)

How can I reach the Linux OS?

Any help appreciated.

Old 08-07-2008, 05:18 PM   #2
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Have you tried using SSH?
Old 08-07-2008, 07:29 PM   #3
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There are a variety of methods.

The usual method is to use ssh to connect to the remote machine. Often this just means getting a shell in a terminal, but you can also forward network traffic over the ssh session in a secure way. This is often used to "tunnel" an X-session over ssh.

For individual programs, it goes something like this:
  1. Make sure the machine which you want to remote connect to is running sshd (the server part of ssh), and it is configured to allow X11 forwarding.
  2. From your client machine (which is running Linux of course, or at least something with ssh and an X server), connect to the remote host. You need to enable X11 forwarding using the -X option:
    ssh -X
  3. You will get a shell on the remote host. Because you used the -X option, you should have the DISPLAY set to send X programs back through the ssh tunnel. Try it, run an X program, e.g. xterm. If it appears on your local display, you've done it right.

There are some limitations of this approach. Firstly, X over the network is not super efficient. It will probably be pretty slow.

Secondly, you are not getting the whole session - just individual programs.

The X-way of doing a whole session is to start your local X-server and let it connect to a remote machine. For this you need to configure your graphical login manager (GDM for gnome, KDM for KDE) to allow remote logins with X.

There are config options for this. A common way to do it is like this:
  1. Configure GDM or KDM on the remote machine (whichever you are running) to allow remote logins.
  2. On the local machine run something like Xephyr like this:
    Xephyr -once -screen 1024x768 -query :1

The problem with this is that it is not secure, so unless you are on a trusted network, you need to do it via an ssh tunnel.

The last method, which has the advantage of letting you connect to your Windows machines as well as your Linux machines, is to use the remote desktop protocol.

I am not sure about centOS, but I know lots of distros come with gnome pre-configured to have a remote desktop server running in a systray applet. I think this is a standard component of gnome, you just have to enable it in the config. I think it's called vino - install that if it not installed already.
Old 08-08-2008, 06:10 AM   #4
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For a secure and reasonably fast remote desktop, you can set up either freenx server or nxserver on the target machine. On the client side, download nxclient from NoMachhine. You need ssh installed and working before NX will work. NX uses compression and forwards the entire desktop, so you wind up with complete access. See this link...

Hope this helps.
Old 08-14-2008, 10:03 AM   #5
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Thanks for all the help folks. (I tried both methods offered and both work equally well.) The fact I was able to bring up centOS Linux and VMware and establish 2 virtual Win machines is a testomonial of excellence to the Linux community. Well done. Ken


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