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Is there an alternative to VNC available which is on par with the features in Windows Remote Desktop?

  • No configuration except possible switching it on. Authentication should be done just like a local logon.
  • Automatic adjust the screen size/resolution to match the remote client.
  • Automatically disable any UI features which are not compatible with the remote client (such as 3D acceleration).
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Not sure, but did you give Teamviewer a try? –  nitstorm Mar 2 '12 at 15:24
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Did you see Is there an equivalent of RDP? The answer (x2go) isn't quite the click-and-go solution you want, but the instructions we compiled in the accepted answer should get you going... –  detly Mar 2 '12 at 15:46
    
@nitstorm I believe the backbone of Teamviewer is VNC... –  TheX Apr 27 '12 at 1:12
    
@TheX Oh.. Didn't know that. Sorry everyone, my bad. –  nitstorm Apr 27 '12 at 4:48
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5 Answers 5

up vote 2 down vote accepted

You can use X11RDP it gives you the same capabilities that Windows RDP gives. read this and visit links inside and you can download the script so easy and try.

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This actually worked really well, but I'd want to connect to my existing desktop. x11rdp creates a new login for me, which requires me to restart all my apps in my new login. –  JesperE Sep 22 '12 at 10:37
    
I don't know if it has solved my problem until I've had the chance to giv it some more mileage. –  JesperE Sep 24 '12 at 6:55
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x11rdp is the right solution. It has been answered with automated script in this post

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ThinLinc, might be the solution for you, you can control which session size you want from client side, the next version of ThinLinc will also support automatic session resize that will make the session fit to client window size.

ps. ThinLinc is free to use up to 10 concurrent users.

See following installation video of ThinLinc server on Ubuntu:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qEJ0KrnXyP0

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Your options in order of personal preference:

  • Older technologies such as XDMPC
  • VNC (As you said)
  • Local X server running remote programs or remote desktop (see xwin-32)
  • RDP on linux (mentioned above)
  • Nomachine
  • x2go

Nomachine and x2go (contrary to what was commented above) are as click-and-go as you'll get in ubuntu. To install

sudo apt-get install x2goserver OR sudo dpkg -i nx* (after download of nxserver,nxnode,nxclient from nomachine)

Then you just download the client. Both of these support dynamic scaling of the window even after a resolution has been chosen. They are much faster than VNC (and not really any slower than you are seeing from windows desktop connection--maybe a tad).

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x2go looks good, but when opening a connection to the local desktop, it scales down the 3840x1020 remote display to the local display (1440x900) which is completely useless. Can I get it to resize the remote display instead? –  JesperE Apr 27 '12 at 16:57
    
Usability-wise it is much better than any other solution I've tried, but everything except a terminal window is still unusably slow. Chromium takes several minutes to load a handfull of tabs, and running Eclipse is simply not doable. –  JesperE Apr 27 '12 at 17:24
    
The choice that you select in the x2go client will request the Xserver to configure that resolution, then you can dynamically scale the window to the size you want. If x2go is defaulting to 3840x1020 no matter what you're doing your xserver needs to be reconfigured to support more resolutions (check /var/log/Xorg.0.log and /etc/X11/xorg.conf (which may not exist)) –  James Apr 28 '12 at 2:05
    
I don't know your setup but NX is known to rival RDP/Remote Desktop in terms of speed (although it probably is slower). But if it is taking 'several minutes to load a handfull of tabs' then I can guarentee that the problem is your connection or current configuration and not the choice of protocol. If it works ok with RDP then it would have to be your current configuration. I've personally successfully connected across the entire US with crappy hotel connection with little noticeable loss of speed. Again, check that your have your xserver configured correctly. –  James Apr 28 '12 at 2:13
    
Ok, thanks. Being able to connect from crappy hotel connections sounds reassuring. :) I will try to set up my xserver to support lower resolutions as well. –  JesperE Apr 29 '12 at 15:12
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  • Authentication: yes, you may want to try Window Switch for something that detects machines automatically via mDNS and provides simple authentication
  • Adjust screen: This is not supported by VNC or RDP (could be wrong about xfreerdp) although it is supported by the protocols they speak, so I don't think you will get this feature on Linux.
  • This really depends on how you want to use the remote desktop feature: if you want to shadow an existing session (via NX or VNC) then it will just scrape the screen without changing anything about the existing session. (X11 does not support removing features on the fly - and probably never will). If on the other hand you don't mind starting a brand new desktop session (again via NX or VNC) then you can choose which desktop environment to use (ie: a lighter one), and by default the VNC and NX sessions do not have 3D or other UI extensions (although they can be enabled if desired). Winswitch should make it easy to do all that.
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RDP supports specifying screen size when connecting. I do this all the time. I don't have to be able to change resolution after connection, but adjusting the screen size to the connecting client is a must. (After all, when you use the computer locally, you require it to use the right resolution for your monitor, so why should remote connections be any different?) –  JesperE Sep 22 '12 at 10:34
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