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I've been using Linux for many years now but only to run servers. Over the last few days I've been struggling with a technical / configuration issue which I hope someone can help with. I've installed / un-installed many packages but just can't figure out what the "right" way of doing this is.

The requirement seems simple

  • Server runs Ubuntu 10.04 with xubuntu and SSH (I do NOT want to connect any screen, keyboard or mouse to the server)
  • I have Windows 7 machine with putty on it and logging in to the server using SSH is fine
  • I want to run an xterminal session on my Windows machine.

Amongst the things I've tried is VNU but I can't get it to work because I believe you have to login on the server first.

Thanks in advance

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migrated from May 7 '11 at 11:16

This question came from our site for professional and enthusiast programmers.

Just install the necessary requirements only

sudo apt-get install xterm

Assuming you have some kind of X terminal emulator on windows (e.g. Cygwin X), you can connect with ssh

# make sure DISPLAY is exported and set to the correct value)
ssh -X linuxhost xterm
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Thanks - cygwin X seems extremly complicated for what I want to do. Is there something simpler I could use? Also the "ssh -X linuxhost xterm" where do I run that on the server that I want to connect TO (and linuxhost is the IP address of my windows box?) or on my windows computer? – Anonymous May 7 '11 at 10:34
Update on the above I installed cygwin and follow this procedure (my ubuntu server has private IP open putty session to and in session: (a) sudo bash (b) ssh -X xterm (that's my windows machine) --- on Windows machine: start cygwin shell and type: XWin.exe -query The moment I do that - the putty session displays: "connection timeout" and nothing happens. I must be doing something wrong... – Anonymous May 7 '11 at 11:00

It is possible to use VNC to connect to a server without logging in first, but not with the default VNC setup that comes with Ubuntu Desktop.

Nomachine NX might be a good choice. It is a terminal server that works over SSH and provides you with high-speed remote X access so you can run almost any GUI-application from another PC. It does not support 3D, so using things like Compiz, Gnome-shell or Unity does not work, but most other stuff works. I've used it to run in a browser, for instance (which is really quite nice).

X2Go is another alternative that uses Nomachines libraries, but is better integrated with Ubuntu, with PulseAudio support, etc. If your clients are primarily Windows based, then Nomachine might be a better choice, but if you use Ubuntu on your clients, then X2go is better. X2go is completely free software, whereas Nomachine NX is closed source, but provides a gratis server that allows two different users to access the server, limited to two connections at any one time.

You can find X2go here: Nomachine:

There is also a third alternative: Xrdp. It wasn't very mature the last time I used it, and it seems to be poorly documented, but it is supposed to work very well. The advantage of using it, is that many systems come preinstalled with an RDP client, so you don't have to install anything on the client side.

If you plan on using this extensively, then I would suggest you give all of them a try and see which fits best.

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I use nomachine clients, from both windows and unix (debian and ubuntu), and freenx server. – enzotib Jun 23 '11 at 13:41

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