Remote Desktops Ubuntu 12.04

This is another “more of a note to self” than a tutorial on how to use one keyboard and one mouse to run two computers.

I wanted to do film transcoding that is super heavy on CPU use and takes hours. So I acquired a second hand dual core computer, meaning I have two of those now, and their at least 7 years old going on more. In computer terms Ice Age relics. But put the two of them together and you have a ‘quad’ core computer with redundancy.

I just wanted to be encumbered with one keyboard and one mouse.

A KVM type switch box would do the job. Networking does it more elegantly and cheaper as the two computers can talk to each other exchanging files.

Both computers are running Ubuntu 12.04 and heres some rough steps to myself when I come to need to do it again, having forgotten what it was. Originally I was going to use our trustworthy old friend VNC. But thats been surpassed now. I ended up using FreeNX.

With the right set up FreeNX supports remote connections from across the internet and offers several security implementations to suit your needs.

In its default state, I am only a two machine LAN, I was somewhat surprised that I was given a brand new session on the remote computer, not a ‘current desktop’ view that I would have got with Vnc. It didn’t matter, I set the remote computer to the log out screen and used a remote session from there. Its sufficient for my needs. It did beg the question then as to how ‘remote session’ I was. Using FireFox from an earlier session the bookmark that I had created was available to me in the remote session and ‘copy/ paste’ right away onto my local desktop. I wonder what would happen to printing? I don’t know, I’ve no printer.

The steps went something like this:

Server side – do this on the computer you want to access

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:freenx-team

sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install freenx

wget && tar xvf nxsetup.tar.gz && sudo cp nxsetup /usr/lib/nx

sudo /usr/lib/nx/nxsetup –install –setup-nomachine-key

echo -e “\n#Use unity 2d for client sessions\nCOMMAND_START_GNOME=’gnome-session –session=ubuntu-2d'”|sudo tee -a /etc/nxserver/node.conf

sudo /etc/init.d/freenx-server restart

For your Ubuntu Client – the roaming computer

sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install qtnx

Launch qtnx from the icon bar or using the Dash Home app finder.

Thats about it. There isn’t any security implemented through this basic install. Its often easier to prove you have a working system and add that on top. There is no mention of dealing with Routers and Port Forwarding and all the good stuff that will need as I didn’t go there.


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