I recently upgraded to UBUNTU 13.04. Prior to the upgrade I was effectively using xrdp to access my unity 2d (gnome-fallback-session) desktop from my windows 7 client. With the upgrade my understanding is that the gnome-fallback-session is no longer available under 13.04, and further the xrdp server could not handle the unity desktop over a remote session.

As an alternative I am using a tunneled xvnc connection to establish a remote desktop connection between my windows 7 machine and ubuntu 13.04 workstation. Briefly, (i) connect via ssh to the server (ii) startup xvnc server via sudo x11vnc -display :1 -auth guess -q and (iii) use realVNC vncviewer application to access the remote desktop. With this approach I can manage some work, but the connection is awfully slow with bad geometry. Firstly, the refresh rate severely hinders delivery of the remote desktop to the client viewer, although I've already disabled some of the effects & animations in unity. Second, I have very limited control over the geometry of the desktop, thus even scaled down to fit the geometry of the client display the result is a very condensed and disproportional remote desktop view.

I would appreciate any suggestions to either (a) improving the xvnc experience or (b) alternative (but straightforward) solutions for remote desktop access.

Thanks in advance



Unity is only running smooth with hardware 3D acceleration. Since VNC is running its own X11 server without conventional graphics output, you cannot expect to get decent performance. If I understand the xrdp website correctly, xrdp suffers from the same issue (since it uses xvnc to manage the x11 session).

I only see one possible solution: avoid running a 3D desktop environment through your remote connection:

You could, instead of running a full remote desktop, just forward X11 on a per window basis. For this, you'll need an X11 server for Windows (for instance Xming, or the one from the Cygwin repos, or MobaXterm,...). If you are running an ssh client from a command line, you can enable X11 forwarding with the "-X" argument (or "-Y" for trusted X11 forwarding, meaning that you trust the server computer you are connecting to) In putty you can enable X11 forwarding by clicking a checkbox:

Putty X11 forwarding dialogue

If this is enabled, you should be able to start all X11 programs from command line in putty and get their output on your local screen.

If you insist on using a full remote desktop, I'd suggest to install a 2D window manager. If you want a full desktop environment, you can try lxde, xfce, kde (with desktop effects disabled!). If you just need just a lightweight window manager, try sawfish, openbox, blackbox, fluxbox, mwm, twm,... The Archlinux Wiki has a list of window managers, of which many are available on Ubuntu as well.

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