I have read a lot about how to remote desktop on your Ubuntu instance.

  1. Please can someone tell me as of now what is the most recommended way: VNC or RDP?

    Does it make a difference to choose. I am on MAC but I use Microsoft Remote Desktop to access my Windows at work, hence I've figured out that I could use it for XRDP on Ubuntu. What is the one easier and safer. I'm asking this because this is the Amazon subscription of my organization. Although i have administrative rights on the machine, I do not have access to the Management Console. My admin is expecting me to tell him what port i need to RDP. However if i decide to go for VNC, I'm not sure that will be easy therefore I ask.

  2. The machine I use is robust. Hence, does it work today to use Ubuntu default IDE, or else which one to use?

    I don't mind having something light or heavy, i want the same as the one on my virtual machine on my mac, which is the default coming with Ubuntu 14.04.2 In all and all, if one could give me some tips here, i would really appreciate, to have the procedure.

In any case, i will set up my own machine for a personal project and will need to do the same but myself so if i could have the most updated procedure that would be great.

Many thanks,


  • I am a bit confused by your questions: 1) Are you trying to access an existing Windows machine remotely, but are not sure whether it is a better idea to use VNC or RDP for this task? 2) Are you asking whether it is a good idea to use Ubuntu for your machine or for some other machine (like the one mentioned in point 1)? Are confused about what desktop environment to use?
    – ntninja
    Mar 12, 2015 at 21:00
  • Sorry for the confusion. I have en Ubuntu instance on EC2. I have a mac osx machine as laptop. I would like to connect to the ubuntu instance on Ec2 using my mac and the appropriate software: VNC or DRP ? Shall i go for the VNC Server + tight VNC or XRDP and Remote desktop sotfware on MAc. Whatever is the best solution, what is the actual procedure to do so ?
    – MaatDeamon
    Mar 12, 2015 at 21:14

2 Answers 2


I would go with XRDP if I were you my friend as in Trusty, VNC isn't working correctly (I am having trouble with it myself). Also as you're workplace employes Windows, it would be better to use XRDP instead of VNC according to this answer:


which states that:

*RDP is semantic. The RDP is aware of controls, fonts, and other similar graphical primitives. This means that when rendering a screen across a network, this information is used to compress the data stream significantly. For instance, if you know that this region of the screen if occupied by a button, with the color grey, then you don't need to send an image of the button across the network, but merely information such as location of this button, size and color.

VNC is "dumb" in this respect, and largely functions by sending the actual images across the network.
RDP is tightly coupled to the Windows platform, where as VNC is availble for most platforms. RDP is also seen as far more performant then VNC, due to the semantic advantadge.*

  • Many thanks for your insight. Any latest info on how to set remote desktop using XRDP in Ubuntu ? The typical remote desktop client on mac should work right ?
    – MaatDeamon
    Mar 17, 2015 at 19:54
  • I wish I could say it with confidence but I have NEVER used a MAC before and so I cannot guarantee the working status of xrdp in mac BUT it is worth a try ;) All the best Mar 20, 2015 at 13:56

The best solution for you is open a terminal and use the ssh -x command described below having XQuartz installed if you don't have X11 so that you can access the virtual machine with GUI.

Get XQuartz from: http://xquartz.macosforge.org/landing/

ssh -x [email protected]
  • Thanks for sharing, but in order to take a decision i would like to know how does it differ from using tightVNC for instance. Sounds like a lot of floks have gone for that solution. Installking a minimal desktop on Ubuntu on amazon because the default is not compatible for tightvnc because of 3d acceleration etc... Would be nice to have some ins and out.
    – MaatDeamon
    Mar 16, 2015 at 21:44

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