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What are the options to have multi-user remote desktop functionality on a workstation running Ubuntu 18.04.5? Remote users will be running Windows, and connectiing to a Ubuntu machine. Ideally every user (approx 7-9 users) has their own desktop environment.

Current setup which is very glitchy: vncserver running for each user on ubuntu workstation, and Ultr@VNC viewer to connect to workstation from windows machine. When I have it running for more than one user I start experiencing issues remoting to a gray/black screen etc. I've changed the xstartup file to get a basic desktop, but a lot of programs don't run on the remote desktop environment.

Is there a recommended solution for remote desktop from windows to linux machines?

2 Answers 2

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You probably want to look into xrdp. You can install it with:

sudo apt install xrdp

You might want to do some configuration afterwards, for example hook it up to a specific desktop environment such as xfce. Google is your friend here, for example: https://www.hiroom2.com/2018/05/07/ubuntu-1804-xrdp-xfce-en/

You can directly connect to the xrdp server with the "Remote desktop connection" tool that ships with Windows itself.

Small addition: if you want to have hardware 3D acceleration in these remote sessions, you will have to combine xrdp with VirtualGL. This can get fairly complex though, so only go there if you really need it.

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  • How many simultaneous desktop user sessions does xrdp support?
    – FedKad
    Nov 16, 2020 at 7:51
  • The maximum number of sessions should be configurable in /etc/xrdp/sesman.ini (it defaults to MaxSessions=50). I have never gone above 4 simultaneous users myself though, so I cannot promise you it will do 50 sessions. Nov 16, 2020 at 11:05
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It's not a true remote desktop, but the following works well and is robust for our users.

  • Windows - install Mobaxterm (portable)
  • ssh with X11 forwarding into Linux
  • Start nautilus nautilus &
  • Start GUI, coding etc code &
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  • My previous experience has shown that, X11 forwarding with ssh is veeeery slow. What is your experience in terms of performance, if you are really using this method regularly?
    – FedKad
    Mar 5, 2021 at 11:26

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