Saturday, October 20, 2007

Easy, secure, remote (gui) access for Linux! (10 minutes or less)

If you've ever tried to use the built in remote access for the Linux destkop, you'll know that it's typically laggy, especially if you're connecting remotely using a vpn. Also, nothing is encrypted, making it very non-secure.

I'm going to show you how to remedy these problems with a program called NOMACHINE....
www.nomachine.com

The first thing you need to do is download 3 nomachine programs. The Node, the Client, and the Server. All three of these have to be installed on the "server" that you'll be connecting to.

We'll start with the client. Download the package appropriate for your distro. We'll wait until we have them all downloaded to do anything with them.

NXClient Debian Package (Debian, Ubuntu, Dream Linux, etc)
NXClient RPM Package (Fedora, Suse, PCLinuxOS, etc
NXClient Tarball (Slackware)

And now the node.
NXNode Debian
NXNode RPM Package
NXNode Tarball


And last but most important, the server package.
NXServer Debian Package
NXServer RPM Package
NXServer Tarball

Now that you've got all those downloaded, you need to install them. Since they have dependencies, you have to install nxclient first, then nxnode, and last the server, the same order we downloaded them in. Install them using your package manager. If you're using Ubuntu, all you have to do is click on the package and the package manger will pop up, and you just need to click on the install button. Do that for each package and that's it for installation.

We'll go ahead and test the connection now, with the client that's already on your server. It sounds kind of stupid, but yes, we're going to be connecting to your server from your server to test it and make sure it works. One more thing.... make sure you have openssh-server installed. Ubuntu by default does not install it for some reason. To remedy this, do an apt-get install ssh, and the correct package will be istalled. Other distros I've used have all had it installed.

If you're using Ubuntu, you'll find nxclient is now in your menu, under the internet section. Go to that, and you'll see an nx connection wizard. You'll just need to enter a session name (call it test, unless you have something better) and the ip address of the system you're using. Click next, and select whatever display manager you're using. In Ubuntu's case I would select Gnome. Next, next, let it create a shortcut if you want. Then it will ask you for a password. By default it's setup to use your system users passwords. Go ahead and put in your password and click login. If everything goes well, you'll be seeing your desktop soon. By default, you can't use root to connect, which is a good thing for security.

If you were able to connect, you should be able to connect using any other system on your network. To try it out, download the client program for your other computer and install it, and connect the same way we did with the sever. There is a client available for Mac and Windows as well, so you can connect to your linux server from any computer you want.

Enjoy your new fast and secure remote management!

1 comment:

MikeFrizzi said...

I'm glad to see you express your opinion on the built-in Linux connection tool, as it mirrors my feelings on the Windows offering. On one hand it is sad that I have had to turn to third party remote access software to make these connections work, but on the other hand it's a good thing that MS is so incapable of making these programs work, because it opens up the door for qualified people fulfill these needs.