I have a Windows 7 laptop that's going out and about and I'd like to be able to admin' it from my Ubuntu (precise) desktop.

While the laptop is in my office I can use Gnome's "Remote Desktop Viewer" (Vinagre) to connect via RDP. However, when it's in the office I don't really need RDP of course! And when it's out of the office I cannot control the routers/firewalls along the way, so I won't know the IP and cannot set up port forwards.

I'm looking for a Ubuntu compatible way to achieve this.

Nb. I can set up port forwards at the my office end, so a service on the laptop could try a "backwards" connection to my client.


You can install a VPN server on your office machine and have the laptop to connect as a client suggestion: openvpn or you can use teamviewer under wine on your ubuntu machine. For frequent remote connections, I would prefer the VPN solution. It is also more powerful as with the VPN, your laptop will behave as if it was connected in your LAN (use internal resources easily as shared directories, internal webpages, printers, central authentication possibly, etc...) and not only share its desktop as with teamviewer.

Update: openvpn will show the log of the last connection with cat /etc/openvpn/openvpn-status.log

To fix the ip assigned to the client, you can use in server config file:

ifconfig-pool-persist ipp.txt 0

ipp.txt is used with ifconfig-pool-persist (without 0) to persist the ip when reconnecting after connection is down. Using 0 the server will never update the file so the IP will always be the same.

In ipp.txt you enter host,ip pairs like: mylaptop, to assign to host mylaptop.

Obs: Don't forget to change ipp.txt file if you change the ip pool assignment for the clients.

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  • I have OpenVPN installed already! Hey, great tip, of course! Now I suppose I'd just need to have a way to find the IP address of the laptop that OpenVPn has assigned...(any ideas how to do this without requiring the user to do anything?) – artfulrobot Aug 28 '12 at 16:06
  • yes, you can cat /etc/openvpn/openvpn-status.log and it will show the last ip used. You can control also wich ip you send to the client with ipp.txt file and a config change in server config file but I don't remember now wich is it exactly. Let me know if you need to do that and I'll find it. – laurent Aug 28 '12 at 16:11
  • no, no, you've been helpful enough! if it's in a man page somewhere I'll find it. Thank you. – artfulrobot Aug 28 '12 at 16:15
  • lol... too late! I was answering and didn't see your comment but that's better so the asnwer is more complete for future references. – laurent Aug 28 '12 at 16:27

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