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Graphical Remote Control Desktops for Linux, part 3 - page 2

Final Steps For NXServer Setup

  • November 6, 2008
  • By A. Lizard
Figure 1 shows the NX client running on an eeePC with NX server desktop display. Note that the display is necessarily compressed, the screen of an eeePC is far smaller than my 1280x1024 desktop display. What's shown is a "shadow" session, that M in the upper right corner is a user prompt on the desktop machine requesting permission to start a session. The Windows-looking window onscreen floating over my server desktop is a VMware Server guestVM, which I can interact with just as I would if I were sitting at the server in person. The ability to do this and access my regular mail client from anywhere on the Net is a major reason why I installed NX server.

Install nxclient on client machine as you did on the server. Import a copy of the key from /usr/NX/share/keys/default.id_dsa.key from the server. You can do this via SAMBA file transfer on a LAN, sneakernet on a USB flash dongle, etc.

If you are installing on an eeePC, the desktop icon is NOT created, you'll have to invoke nxclient from a terminal prompt:

$ /etc/NX/bin/nxclient

NX client GUI Configuration

Figure 2 shows the NX client login window. The first thing you do is push the configure button, and then you see a configuration menu like Figure 3.

The General tab shows settings for a typical setup intended to access a Linux server running KDE. ADSL is the fastest setting that provides all the compression options without display setting compromises intended to reduce bandwidth you might see on modem and ISDN settings. Also note that if you're going to access a server via, say, cell phone modem or dialup connection, you'll appreciate the modem setting. The KDE setting reflects KDE running on the server. There is a Gnome setting, too. For Host, fill in the IP address or the computername (if on your LAN) or the subdomain/domain you registered with your dynamic DNS service. Note that the subdomain/domain name won't work to connect unless you are on the public Internet.

I recommend the "Available Area" option from the Display menu, that way the taskbar on the client remains visible and you can access non-NX applications from the client.

If you choose a "Full Screen" window from the Display menu, the easiest way I've found to disconnect is to go to
Start Menu (on server) > Internet > NX client for Linux > NX session administrator and use that to locate and close the NX session from that window. Otherwise, click the square M menu on the upper left of the NX client session window and select Close.

Now push the Key button, which is shown in Figure 4. Push the Import button and find the directory you put the default.id_dsa.pub from wherever you put it on the client system. Once you find that file, enter it and close the window.

In Figure 5 you see how to select your desktop. If you are accessing a Linux server, use the Unix or Shadow Desktop options.

Once you are done with configuration, push the Save button on the general tab and then Ok, fill in your regular server user password, and push Login. When you see "connected" and then "downloading desktop", you're in business.

If you want to run an interactive session with a user on the server, select "Shadow" from the Configuration > General tab > Desktop menu. But avoid Shadow unless you actually need to work remotely and interactively with a customer on a machine running Linux from somewhere else. It slows things way down.

Figure 6 shows the client's "permission to connect" request window on NX server desktop. In interactive mode, the user has to pull down the username and select it as usual for a menu item, which might be difficult if you are the user and several thousand miles away. I'm not quite sure why the default is white text on a gray window for NX client user prompts (like Disconnect, Terminate, Cancel) and the user prompt for the shadow session. I am sure it makes them very hard to read. Peer very closely at the screen is the best advice I can give at this point.
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