Remote Desktop Connection

Garrett Cooper youshi10 at
Wed Jan 24 15:21:48 UTC 2007

Hash: SHA1

Kevin Kinsey wrote:
> Grzegorz Pluta wrote:
>> Hi.
>> Id like to asj you guys if you used any remote desktops with freebsd?
>> Which
>> client/server would you recommend, and why? Witch wich desktop env
>> have you
>> been using it?
> I use Xorg & XFCE4 on my FreeBSD desktop(s).  For remote desktop
> connections:
> FreeBSD -> FreeBSD: ssh with X11 forwarding (-X or -Y options, see
> manpage).
> FreeBSD -> Windows: rdesktop (/usr/ports/net/rdesktop).  Works
> beautifully for work.  Can't recall which, but some games don't seem to
> like it.
> Windows -> FreeBSD:  freeXer and PuTTY with X11 forwarding enabled. Kind
> of interesting to have my FreeBSD desktop apps on my wife's lappy at the
> breakfast table ;-).  With this setup, Windows actually is the "window
> manager" --- kinda disconcerting at first glance :-D
> Kevin Kinsey

Overall, as many have suggest on the list there are a number of caveats
to using different means of connecting.

Here's a short rundown with all of my comments:

rdesktop and krdc (KDE rdesktop) work for connecting to Windows NT 5.0+
servers. Don't have a Windows server that meets that spec? Probably
won't need rdesktop/krdc then.. Don't install krdc unless you also want
to install KDE.

X11 forwarding through ssh is great when you're connections between you
and the remote machine are relatively fast (fast up on the server, fast
down on the client). Compression with ssh (-C flag--not available on all
ssh or ssh2 implementations) is a good idea when using this to connect
remotely because there's a lot of data that gets piped through an X11

VNC is better for keeping remote sessions active after disconnecting
from the machine. There are many VNC servers software titles, but you
will either probably look into tightvnc (creates a new X session per
instance), or x11vnc (connects to an existing X session on your
machine). Quality, speed and latency are an issue here as VNC is sort of
bad at caching tiles on the desktop. Using a lightweight wm or desktop
is a wise idea though without a desktop picture and sticking to X11 only
widgets (xclock, xterm, etc) is a good idea as the redraw is better than
gtk or qt apps or other programs (firefox, thunderbird). Try to wrap the
connection using portforwarding via SSH if you're logged in from a large
LAN or over a WAN because everything sent with tightvnc is cleartext, so
passwords, credit card numbers, etc can be sniffed by a knowledgeable

I'm still amazed that nomachinex hasn't been ported to FreeBSD, but it's
a complete binary release of a 'hacked' X11 system, so the devs at the
nomachine group probably haven't gotten around to porting it yet.

- -Garrett
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