I annouced a long time ago that I was done with VLC and that didn’t turn out so great, as not long after I got a new computer and VLC behaved fine, I can only assume it was due to the slower hardware that it didn’t run so well.

Times have changed and I feel a lot more confident now that I’m giving up on VNC. I thought VNC was great, and I still remember the first time I installed it on my work pc and was amazed that I could control another PC remotely.

I’ve stuck with VNC largely because it’s what I know, I tried x over ssh which is great in theory but I’d never got it to behave the way I wanted to, sure it’s nice that the applications look like they’re on your desktop, but that got in the way a lot, it did have one upside and that was encryption.

In comes FreeNX/NoMachine(NM)NX:

NX uses the SSH protocol to send its data. SSH was chosen as a base for NX because of its excellent security record. NX relies on both the SSH functionalities and the existing open-source SSH software, to make it possible to run contemporary Unix and Windows desktops and arbitrary network applications, across the Internet, in a secured and controlled way.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NX_technology

All data is encrypted, it is extremely fast, it really does feel like you’re running the system locally (even on the internet) and has resumable sessions.

Positives:

  • All traffic is encrypted
  • It’s extremely fast even on horrible connections

Negatives:

  • May potentially be propritary software in the future
  • Doesn’t support Unity 3d

The only other alternative appears to be X2Go which I’m very interested in and will likely do so in the future however I found the client to be not up to scratch compared to NoMachines.

But in the mean time, to install FreeNX/NoMachine NX on Debian:

http://www.nomachine.com/download-package.php?Prod_Id=3776

Download all 3 .deb’s install all 3.

sudo dpkg -i downloadedfile.deb

If you’re like me and have SSH running on a different port:

Remember to edit: vi /usr/NX/etc/server.cfg

And set the SSHDPort = “XXXX” AND SSHDAuthPort = “XXXX” to your SSH port.

If you don’t change the SSHDPort it won’t connect and if you don’t change the SSHDAuthPort you won’t be able to login.

And now I’m a much happier remote desktop user.