Educate Me on Remote Desktops - AVS Forum
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HTPC - Linux Chat > Educate Me on Remote Desktops
shane2943's Avatar shane2943 09:14 AM 04-22-2010
So since I have a projector now instead of the TV, I don't want to have to turn it on and shorten the (expensive) bulbs life every time I have a quick task to do on the PC, such as check on a Handbrake encode or start one, or rip a few more discs, etc.

I have an Apple Macbook running OS X 10.4 and a Dell Laptop running Mint 8. My HTPC is running Mandriva 2010.0. I'd like to be able to connect one of the laptops (preferably the Macbook) to the HTPC to perform tasks that I don't need the projector for.

I have never used or setup a remote desktop in Linux or OS X. Can you kind fellows lend a brain or two for this quandry?

Thanks in advance!!!

djb61230's Avatar djb61230 09:36 AM 04-22-2010
Personally when I need to futz with the machine connected to the projector I just ssh in. Then again I am used to doing things from the command-line.

In the past to run a GUI/X program I've done "ssh -X user@machine" which gives you a shell that does X11-forwarding. Chances are you will have to adjust the server-side sshd config as this might be shut off as a default for security reasons. But in a pinch it was helpful to me.

You are probably more interested in running a full desktop. Check into:

http://www.nomachine.com/

I ran the NX Free Edition a few years ago at work. On a Red Hat server and my client was a ubuntu laptop. Worked pretty nice actually. Not sure if they have anything OSX but perhaps your Mint would work.


Yeah it looks like they have an OSX client (along with Linux and windoze).
k_ross's Avatar k_ross 11:55 AM 04-22-2010
If you're running GNOME on the HTPC, it should already have Vino installed, which is a VNC server. You just need to enable it in the gnome preferences->remote desktop. Then just use whatever VNC client you want on the Mac.

I use X forwarding quite often, too, but it isn't appropriate for a task that will run for a long time, like a Handbrake encode, especially when the client computer is a laptop, and won't be left on for the duration of the encode.
darkphoenix22's Avatar darkphoenix22 12:12 PM 04-22-2010
NX is the bee's knees. It's like you're there it's so fast. Just don't use the open source server or clients. They kinda suck.
shane2943's Avatar shane2943 01:04 PM 04-22-2010
@k_ross: the HTPC runs KDE since it's the native DE provided with Mandriva

@djb and darkphoenix: NX eh? Might have to give 'er a shot!!!

"Bees knees." LOL haven't heard that phrase is a LONG time!

Thanks, fellas!!!
mythmaster's Avatar mythmaster 02:57 PM 04-22-2010
+1 for NX. It's crazy fast! FreeNX is easy to set up, and here's the client for OSX.
tux99's Avatar tux99 05:52 PM 04-22-2010
You can easily install freeNX using the package manager since it's available in the Mandriva repos.
shane2943's Avatar shane2943 05:58 PM 04-22-2010
Crap. I just installed NX from the link djb provided above (www.nomachine.com). Is that a different thing? Did I screw up?

It installed fine and I'm trying to figure out how to set this thing up. I've got the client installed on my Macbook and X11 along with it (was required) so that's running. The config file (/usr/NX/etc/server.cfg) has a LOOOOT of configuration in it, the vast majority of which has been commented out. I'm reading the server administrator guide but MAN am I in over my head (my head is small and hangs low on my body...don't read into that). The guide talks about server and nodes and more nodes and multi node this and that. WTF is a node? Is that the Macbook? ugh. I feel dumb at times like this.
shane2943's Avatar shane2943 06:08 PM 04-22-2010
OK, I just uninstalled NX and am installing FreeNX from the Mandriva repos.

Are the commands, directories, config files, etc the same for both?

EDIT: ok, FreeNX Installed!........now what?

I'm so slow. Here: a complimentary picture to express how you must be feeling:

tux99's Avatar tux99 07:52 PM 04-22-2010
I have never used freeNX so have no experience with it, but the following How-To should help you (skip the initial Fedora specific package install step as you have done the package installation already anyway):

http://fedoranews.org/contributors/rick_stout/freenx/
mythmaster's Avatar mythmaster 12:47 AM 04-23-2010
It uses an SSH connection, so make sure that the SSH server is running on the host and the corresponding ports are open on the router if you're using one. Then, fire up the FreeNX server and add a user -- the commands to do that are in the docs. Then load up the client on the Mac, and you should be able to connect. I don't think that I had to fiddle with SSH keys using FreeNX the last time I used it.

I don't have it running right now, but if you get stuck then you can Google around a bit. There are tons of people using it.

Also, you should know that it starts a new X session when you connect, so you won't be able to see any apps that you already have running. You can check top or htop though to see if Handbrake is still going.
Phantom Gremlin's Avatar Phantom Gremlin 05:07 PM 04-23-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by k_ross View Post

Then just use whatever VNC client you want on the Mac.

I also tend to prefer VNC over X.

BTW OS X has a built in VNC client; no need to download and install. I use it but most people don't know it exists. Path is:

System/Library/CoreServices/Screen Sharing
k_ross's Avatar k_ross 05:24 PM 04-23-2010
The KDE VNC server is krfb. So just apt-get install krfb, then go to system->krfb(desktop sharing), and under security settings, set to allow uninvited connections.

Then you should be able to connect from any VNC client.

Edit: oops, just saw you have Mandriva Linux. I think the appropriate command is urpmi krfb.
mythmaster's Avatar mythmaster 02:37 AM 04-25-2010
Hey, shane -- did you ever get some VNC or NX working over here?

Inquiring minds want to know.
Troubleshooter's Avatar Troubleshooter 04:51 AM 04-25-2010
The free (as in beer) Nomachine server and client are what I use. I tried freenx and it never worked right for me. The Nomachine version has worked more or less out of the box for years for me. Once you experience NX for Linux or RDP on Windows, you see how bad VNC is.

-Trouble
darkphoenix22's Avatar darkphoenix22 08:06 PM 04-25-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by Troubleshooter View Post

The free (as in beer) Nomachine server and client are what I use. I tried freenx and it never worked right for me. The Nomachine version has worked more or less out of the box for years for me. Once you experience NX for Linux or RDP on Windows, you see how bad VNC is.

-Trouble

FreeNX has a bug where it will stop working until you delete a random directory if you restart your computer while a session is still open. NeatX has the same problem I believe.

I have never had any such problem with the NoMachine server and client.
shane2943's Avatar shane2943 08:23 PM 04-25-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by mythmaster View Post

Hey, shane -- did you ever get some VNC or NX working over here?

Inquiring minds want to know.

Not yet. I honestly haven't had time to work on it. Hoping to dive back into it this week.
mythmaster's Avatar mythmaster 08:46 PM 04-25-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by shane2943 View Post

Not yet. I honestly haven't had time to work on it. Hoping to dive back into it this week.

I hear ya. I have a mobo, hard drives, and an expensive-ass video card that have been sitting in their boxes for like 2 months now, lol
scram's Avatar scram 04:37 PM 04-26-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by Troubleshooter View Post

The free (as in beer) Nomachine server and client are what I use. I tried freenx and it never worked right for me. The Nomachine version has worked more or less out of the box for years for me. Once you experience NX for Linux or RDP on Windows, you see how bad VNC is.

-Trouble

Trouble-
Does NX allow separate persistent sessions? I currently run a tweaked version of vnc4server in order to keep a separate persistent VNC session going (clients can connect and disconnect, but the desktop and applications stay resident). I would like to ditch this method and go with something more modern, provided I can get persistent sessions...
mythmaster's Avatar mythmaster 04:41 PM 04-26-2010
scram's Avatar scram 05:12 PM 04-26-2010
cool - that sounds promising. I couldn't find anything concrete on the subject for the FreeNX server. Although Nomachine's list of "constraints to be satisfied for reconnecting a session" is a little daunting... but definitely worth a try. Thanks!
mythmaster's Avatar mythmaster 05:25 PM 04-26-2010
7.3.5 here: http://openfacts2.berlios.de/wikien/...onf-directives

It's enabled by default. I'm not sure if FreeNX limits the number of persistent sessions like the free version of NX does.
colonpowell's Avatar colonpowell 05:22 PM 04-27-2010
Freenx lets you have 1 persistent connection. This is different than what's going on in the main screen on your computer. If you want to remotely control the desktop that's already active on your computer then use VNC.

Nx is nice because you can do your encoding and maintenance etc from a remote connection, and then you only have xbmc or whatever open on your desktop, which is all your projector will show.
shane2943's Avatar shane2943 06:32 PM 04-29-2010
Ok, so, NX is a bit complicated for me at the moment because I simply don't have enough time to dedicate to it. I so tried VNC. krfb was already installed so I set it to allow uninvited connections and basically set it to wide open status (except a password). I installed a VNC program on the Mac (since I have OS 10.4, I don't have Screen Sharing. Apple didn't include that till 10.5) called Chicken of the VNC. I pointed the VNC client to the HTPC's address and put in the correct password but no go. The VNC client on the Mac times out.

Could there possibly be a firewall rule on the HTPC blocking port 5900?

EDIT: Yup. Firewall. I enabled port 5900 in the firewall and POOF! I can connect. it is a bit slow, but I'm not expecting miracles here. I just need something so I can use DVDFab and handbrake (and other apps) without power on the projector and shortening the ($500) bulb life.

I'm guessing that I have to be logged onto KDE on the HTPC in order to use this tool, correct? So, since I don't have the PC auto-login (so I can log straight into XBMC), I would have to find a way to log into the HTPC on KDE to use krfb right?
shane2943's Avatar shane2943 06:20 AM 04-30-2010
Alright, so since I have a VNC setup now,I'd like to continue to try to get NX going because it seems to me (and correct me if I'm wrong) that I don't need to be signed on as any particular user or into any particular session on the HTPC to access it with NX.

First: SSH. The Mandriva installation I have came with sshd installed and active. I can't ssh in. I went into the config file and noticed few line items that were commented out (perhaps to make sshd not work until the user wanted it to?) such as the port and all that. Should I un-comment these lines?

Second: NX. I noticed when I had NX installed (not freeNX) that the config file there had a lot of commented out lines that looked important as well. Is this done for the same reason as the sshd config file? To make it not work until the user enabled it?

Should I go in and enable those commented items in both the sshd and NX config files?

I will post the config files when I get home.
tux99's Avatar tux99 02:35 PM 04-30-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by shane2943 View Post

First: SSH. The Mandriva installation I have came with sshd installed and active. I can't ssh in. I went into the config file and noticed few line items that were commented out (perhaps to make sshd not work until the user wanted it to?) such as the port and all that. Should I un-comment these lines?

With regards to ssh you should only need to open the firewall (port 22) to allow ssh access, the default sshd config is normally fine (unless you need to login as root directly, which is disabled by default for obvious reasons).

Don't know about NX since I have never used it.
shane2943's Avatar shane2943 05:38 PM 04-30-2010
Well, I allowed port 22 for sshd and when I try to ssh from the Macbook, I get "connection refused."

I am apparently horrible at networking.
tux99's Avatar tux99 05:55 PM 04-30-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by shane2943 View Post

Well, I allowed port 22 for sshd and when I try to ssh from the Macbook, I get "connection refused."

I am apparently horrible at networking.

Is sshd actually running on the HTPC?

If you do a ps -ef|grep sshd on the HTPC do you see any processes running?

Do you have any config in the following two files on the HTPC:

/etc/hosts.allow

/etc/hosts.deny

post the output of grep ssh /var/log/messages (run on the HTPC) here too.

what's the output of chkconfig --list|grep ssh (run as root user on HTPC)?
shane2943's Avatar shane2943 06:17 PM 04-30-2010
Thank you for the reply, Tux!!!

To answer your questions in order:

Yes, sshd is running.

Yes, I do see an sshd process.

Yes, I do have /etc/hosts.allow and hosts.deny

Here is the output for grep ssh /var/log/messages:
Code:
[shane@localhost etc]$ grep ssh /var/log/messages
Apr 29 19:03:24 localhost avahi-daemon[12017]: Loading service file /services/openssh.service.
Apr 29 19:03:24 localhost avahi-daemon[12017]: Loading service file /services/sftp-ssh.service.
Apr 29 19:03:26 localhost avahi-daemon[12017]: Service "SFTP File Transfer on linux" (/services/sftp-ssh.service) successfully established.
Apr 29 19:03:26 localhost avahi-daemon[12017]: Service "Remote Access on linux" (/services/openssh.service) successfully established.
Apr 29 19:35:05 localhost drakfirewall[15992]: running: /bin/rpm -q --qf %{name}  apache apache-mod_perl boa lighttpd thttpd bind dnsmasq mydsn openssh-server ftp-server-krb5 wu-ftpd proftpd pure-ftpd dhcp-server udhcpd sendmail postfix qmail exim imap courier-imap-pop telnet-server-krb5 nfs-utils nfs-utils-clients samba-server bacula-fd bacula-sd bacula-dir-common rsyslog syslog-ng cups mysql postgresql8.2 postgresql8.3 avahi cups openslp ********** deluge ktorrent transmission vuze rtorrent ctorrent synce-hal
Apr 29 19:35:53 localhost drakfirewall[16759]: running: /bin/rpm -q --qf %{name}  apache apache-mod_perl boa lighttpd thttpd bind dnsmasq mydsn openssh-server ftp-server-krb5 wu-ftpd proftpd pure-ftpd dhcp-server udhcpd sendmail postfix qmail exim imap courier-imap-pop telnet-server-krb5 nfs-utils nfs-utils-clients samba-server bacula-fd bacula-sd bacula-dir-common rsyslog syslog-ng cups mysql postgresql8.2 postgresql8.3 avahi cups openslp ********** deluge ktorrent transmission vuze rtorrent ctorrent synce-hal
Apr 29 20:40:08 localhost rpmdrake[11647]: running: rpm -ql libssh2_1-1.2.1-1mdv2010.0.i586
Apr 29 20:40:08 localhost rpmdrake[11647]: running: rpm -q --qf '%{description}' libssh2_1-1.2.1-1mdv2010.0.i586
Apr 29 20:40:08 localhost rpmdrake[11647]: running: rpm -q --changelog libssh2_1-1.2.1-1mdv2010.0.i586
[shane@localhost etc]$
Here is the output for chkconfig --list|grep ssh:
Code:
[root@localhost etc]# chkconfig --list|grep ssh
sshd            0:off   1:off   2:off   3:off   4:off   5:off   6:off   7:off
[root@localhost etc]#

tux99's Avatar tux99 06:51 PM 04-30-2010
Hmm, I don't know what you see when you say it's running but the output of 'chkconfig --list|grep ssh' clearly shows it's not running.
Also there is no login attempt logged in /var/log/messages which also indicates it's not running.

Do the following (as root user) to activate sshd and start it:

chkconfig sshd on

service sshd start

After that you should be able to log in.

If still not, then provide the out of grep ssh /var/log/messages again.
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