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I can ssh into my desktop at work and work at the command line, but I would like to use a remote desktop protocol to check on some of the programs that I left open and running.

I have not set up permission to use a remote desktop client (e.g. tsclient) on the desktop, so my requests to connect are refused (see picture).

enter image description here

The instructions given in a previous question suggest that the following should work:

gconftool-2 -s -t bool /desktop/gnome/remote_access/enabled true

But I get this:

(30/07/2011 11:25:35 PM Autoprobing TCP port in (all) network interface
30/07/2011 11:25:35 PM Listening IPv6://[::]:5900
30/07/2011 11:25:35 PM Listening IPv4://
30/07/2011 11:25:35 PM Autoprobing selected port 5900
30/07/2011 11:25:35 PM Advertising security type: 'TLS' (18)
30/07/2011 11:25:35 PM Advertising authentication type: 'No Authentication' (1)
30/07/2011 11:25:35 PM Advertising security type: 'No Authentication' (1)

Am I doing something incorrectly?

Is it possible to ssh in and give myself the required permissions to use tsclient?

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

Provided you have setup your ssh server and client to accept X-forwarding we can start the Vino Preferences Manager by the following command:

ssh -X <remote>
user@remote:~$ vino-preferences

By this we can enable the vino server, and change settings including VNC password.

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You're not doing anything wrong, but you're doing it using the wrong software. Quite understandable. What was called "remote desktop" in Ubuntu was never intended to be a remote desktop solution. It was intended to be a way to share your running desktop with someone else. I filed a bug and it seems to have been fixed because it's now been renamed to "Desktop sharing", which is a far better description.

But even if it was possible, it would not be recommendable. VNC is a very slow protocol and there are far better alternatives:

  • XRDP is a remote desktop protocol server for X. It is poorly documented and it's somewhat complicated to configure. The benefit is that you can then use the remote desktop client in Windows to connect to it, as well as the tsclient that is installed by default in Ubuntu.
  • Nomachine NX. This is a very efficient and easy to use remote desktop system. It is closed source, built on their own open source NX libraries. They provide a server you can use free of charge if only two users should be allowed to connect and it's limited to two connections at a time. They do sell other services without these limitations. Their client is free of charge and available for several operating systems. They also have a java plugin so you can launch sessions from a web browser. There is an open source client called OpenNX that is compatible with their server, but I haven't tried it myself. Nomachine: OpenNX:
  • FreeNX aims to be a direct replacement of Nomachine NX Server, based on the open source NX libraries. It is compatible with their client and the OpenNX client. It's easy to install and use.
  • X2Go. This is my favorite. It is based on Nomachines NX libraries and their server is open source. They have a plugin for Firefox that enables you to run a session directly in the browser. They also have support for PulseAudio, which the others do not. Their client is very good and can be used as a display manager.

They're all very good solutions, but I would recommend that you try them in the reverse order and stop when you find one that works well. That is, x2go first, then freenx, etc.

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thank you for the pointers. – David LeBauer Jul 31 '11 at 20:08

You can also install x11vnx and run it after logging in via ssh.

But I will first try solution proposed by Takkat. In most cases it will work out of the box.

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