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I have a local network of 80 machines, all with Ubuntu 10.04 installed on them. All the machines are connected to a central switch.

I have some contractors that are located overseas. I would like to dedicate each of them a single machine, so that all the work they do will be performed on one of my 'local' machines (through remote access).

Ideally, I'd prefer a free solution that will allow each of the users to securely connect to a remote machine, view 'X' (meaning, be able to open programs like Evolution, send emails, write computer code etc) and also open a terminal, run scripts etc. Ideally, the solution should be fast (meaning, I don't want a long delay between every punch on their keyboard to when their screen gets updated) and secure.

I should also have the ability to access the machine they're working on and block their access, in case they're doing something they're not supposed to.

any ideas?

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

ssh -X user@dedicated-ip-for-machine in a terminal would allow them to connect via SSH but also forward GUI programs to their system (so that if they type in gedit, it will run gedit, and forward the GUI program to their system's screen, rather than using the dedicated box's monitor. This allows you to also restrict their access and can allow you to block items on the system. Note that this would be a command line connection, rather than a remote desktop solution.

If you need something specific for complete remote desktop connections, you may consider utilizing TeamViewer, however the system can on occasion not operate to the specs that you are requesting in a program.

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Thank you. How do I create the dedicated ip for each machine? is it a lengthy process? also, how fast will be the connection? (is it going to be like the user is working on his/her machine, rather than a remote one?) – user11833 Mar 30 '11 at 11:26
Depends. First off, for the dedicated IP, if you've got one IP for the network, you'll have to set up different SSH ports on both machines, then use a router or some kind of NAT forwarding to forward ports to each machine. Secondly, to answer the environment question, they will be seeing a command line to start. In that command line, they'll be able to input commands, such as firefox, gedit, or any other name for a GUI program. Assuming that the X11 forwarding works, it will put the GUI program's interface on their machine, but it will be working on the remote machine... – Thomas Ward Mar 30 '11 at 14:41
... rather than on the local machine, so they would have access to the remote machine's files. – Thomas Ward Mar 30 '11 at 14:41
EvilPhoenix: thank you. Currently, all I have are static IPs for the machines (meaning, each machine has a static IP of 192.168.0.XX). How do I go from here to allowing a user (located overseas) to access one machine (say, – user11833 Mar 30 '11 at 14:46
Depends on your network topography, and also how the central hub / gateway is configured. You'd be better off asking a networking expert rather than me. – Thomas Ward Mar 31 '11 at 5:27

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