X2GO Home: an outstanding Remote Desktop solution for Ubuntu
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The software discussed in this article was tested on Ubuntu 9.10 32 bit edition. I guess it will also work on Ubuntu 10.04, but I did not test it in that environment. If anybody uses it successfully in an Ubuntu 10.04 environment, please post a comment.
In a previous article, I discussed the possibility of remote controlling virtually any desktop (Linux, Macintosh, Windows) with the very fine (bèta) Teamviewer for Linux application. After installation, it just works out of the box. This software is intended primarily for helpdesk usage. It is for this reason that a user “at the other side” has to authorize a session, with a session ID and a password.
But what if you just want to have a full remote desktop session to one of your other Ubuntu computers, at home or through the Internet? What if “the user at the other side” just does not exist? If you want to have a fully working Remote Desktop solution for Ubuntu, do not look any further. Surf to the x2Go website, and start installing the software. A brief installation procedure for Ubuntu is available at the x2go website. Here is a full description on how to install the software on Ubuntu 9.10 (and maybe on 10.04 as well, but again, I did not test it with 10.04 – According to the info on the website, it should just work). I tested the x2go server Home Edition. As a side note, x2go has many, many more possibilities than the Home Edition allows – amongst other things, authentication against any LDAP server. This implies that, e.g. Novell eDirectory, or Microsoft Active Directory, could be used as backend authentication mechanisms.
Ok, for now, let’s go back to the Home edition.
X2go consists of a server side component, and of a client component.
The server side component
Let’s start with the server side. First of all: you don’t need an Ubuntu server to use the software. Your Ubuntu desktop will do fine, and that’s what you want: have full access to your Ubuntu desktop remotely, as if you were doing an Remote Desktop (RDP) session in Windows. For the “server” side, you can just follow the instructions indicated at the x2go site. The easiest way to do as instructed on the x2go web site, translated into the Ubuntu graphical interface is: Clik on System – > Management -> Installation Sources; enter your password, and add as additional installation source: deb http://x2go.obviously-nice.de/deb/ lenny main. If you’re familiar with command line, use gedit or vi, and edit sources.list, just do it the command line way. If you’re doing it that way, don’t forget to sudo apt-get update.
Back to the graphical way. Click on Close. An error message about a public key missing in the new installation sources will appear, just ignore the message. A message will appear, indicating that your installation sources need to be updated. Just allow the installation sources to be updated.
Ok, now next, open System -> Management -> Synaptic package management, and search for x2goserver-home. Install the software, and accept all extra packages. After installation, no further configuration is required, the x2go server is ready to use. It will be started automatically when booting the computer. Maybe it’s a good idea to see if your Ubuntu firewall allows traffic over SSH port 22, since that is used by x2go. An excellent tool to manage your Ubuntu firewall is Firestarter…for Ubuntu 9.x versions, it’s available in the Software Center. After allowing access to SSH port 22, the x2go server is ready for use. All existing users on the x2go server are automatically allowed remote access.
The client component
The client side component is not difficult at all, you just need two packages, which are available on the x2go web site. The packages that you need are available at:
These are the files you need for an Ubuntu 32 bit computer:
Download both packages. First, install pinentry-x2go-gtk_0.7.5-1_i386.deb, and next x2goclient-gtk_2.99-3_i386.deb. Installation should be as easy as double-clicking the file, entering your password, and installing the package.
After installation, you will find in your Applications -> Internet a new package: X2Go Client(gtk). Just launch the software. Configure a session with the IP address (or DNS name) of the x2go server, and enter the type of graphical session (Gnome or KDE)…enter your username and password (as configured on the “x2go server”) …and off you are! Have fun!
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