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Thread: 20.04 - best method for remote desktop on local network and remote network (internet)

  1. #1
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    20.04 - best method for remote desktop on local network and remote network (internet)

    What method can I use for remote desktop with Ubuntu 20.04 (I am running a headless server on a Dell T30):

    1. Locally via my internal network using a Mac Book Pro
    2. Remotely via the internet

    I have upgraded from 16.04 with a fresh install of 20.04

    When I had 16.04:

    - For a local connection I used used the 'Desktop Sharing' app in Ubuntu with the 'Screen Share' tool in MacOS
    - For a remote connection I used X2go with an SSH key pair

    However, for 20.04 neither of these seem to work (there is no 'Desktop Sharing' app in Ubuntu).

    I don't need to worry about security when connecting locally to Ubuntu Desktop using my Mac Book Pro.

    For a remote connection over the internet, I want security such as an SSH key pair like I had with X2go.

    Seeing as my original setup with 16.04 no longer works with 20.04, what are the alternative options that will work with 20.04 ?

  2. #2
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    Re: 20.04 - best method for remote desktop on local network and remote network (inter

    x2go works into 20.04 for me from other Ubuntu and Windows systems, but I don't have any apple stuff.
    Also, I don't use Gnome3 as a DE on either the client or the server. I know Mate works. Think KDE, XFCE, and I know fvwm as a window manager works excellent.

    x2go needs X11 to work on the server. I don't use Wayland.
    x2go has a debug console for figuring out connection issues. Check the "show details" option on the connection screen.

  3. #3
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    Re: 20.04 - best method for remote desktop on local network and remote network (inter

    Quote Originally Posted by TheFu View Post
    x2go works into 20.04 for me from other Ubuntu and Windows systems, but I don't have any apple stuff.
    Also, I don't use Gnome3 as a DE on either the client or the server. I know Mate works. Think KDE, XFCE, and I know fvwm as a window manager works excellent.

    x2go needs X11 to work on the server. I don't use Wayland.
    x2go has a debug console for figuring out connection issues. Check the "show details" option on the connection screen.
    Thanks TheFu,

    Are there different versions of X11 out there ?

    Looking through my bash history I used the following to install X11...

    Code:
    sudo apt-get install x11-utils
    sudo apt-get install x11vnc net-tools
    There is the following icon in 'Show Applications'...

    1.png

    Which when I open gives the following window...

    2.png

    And this widget appears on the desktop...

    3.png

    With X11VNC running on Ubuntu as described above, I have not got X2go working and also the 'Screen Sharing' tool on the Mac.

    X2go previously stopped working because it would not accept the SSH passphrase for some reason (it also does the same on a Windows machine).

    However, I have performed a fresh install of MacOS and now X2go accepts the SSH passphrase, I'm using the exactly the same key so I dont know what the issue was (and why the issue still happens on the Windows machine).

    The problem I have with X11VNC is that I can't seem to get it to startup again after a reboot.

    I followed this guide...

    https://help.ubuntu.com/community/VNC/Servers

    ...and created a password...

    Code:
    x11vnc -storepasswd
    Then I added the following lines to the bottom of /etc/gdm3/Init/Default...

    Code:
    # Start the x11vnc Server
    /usr/bin/x11vnc -auth guess -forever -loop -noxdamage -repeat -rfbauth ~/.vnc/passwd -rfbport 5900 -shared
    But this didnt work, even when I try to run X11VNC from terminal, no matter what options I choose I get errors like:
    Code:
    XOpenDisplay(":0") failed.
    I don't particularly like the widget on the Ubuntu desktop either.

    How do I get X11VNC to startup automatically after a reboot ?

  4. #4
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    Re: 20.04 - best method for remote desktop on local network and remote network (inter

    I don't know anything about gdm3 (I don't use it), but suspect that doesn't run with a userid. It runs as root but without any normal environment, which is probably NOT desirable.

    That means the command:
    Code:
     /usr/bin/x11vnc -auth guess -forever -loop -noxdamage -repeat -rfbauth ~/.vnc/passwd -rfbport 5900 -shared
    probably doesn't know what ~/ means. if it even gets run.

    I'm willing to help with x2go, but not vnc. VNC shouldn't be allowed, IMHO. The default VNC shouldn't allow network connections, only localhost, so remote connection aren't allowed without some sort of strong network authentications using a VPN or ssh tunnel first. We all have different opinions. I haven't touched VNC in at least a decade. There are easier, more efficient, most secure, solutions. But that's an opinion too.

    For x2go, a running ssh-agent should require unlocking the ssh-keys just once per login and it should pass the credentials through to any process that needs it on any ssh connected machine automagically. ssh sessions switch to the authenticated userid, but run from boot, so it doesn't have the cart-horse issue that VNC seems to have.

    On Windows, the ssh-key ways has to be created using the x2go version of ssh-keygen. Then the private key location has to be specified in the connection GUI. Obviously, the public key from any client machine needs to be pushed to the remote system. On Unix systems, we have ssh-copy-id which "does the right thing", but on Windows, it has to be manually handled. It isn't hard, but files need to have specific permissions, specific owners, and the key has to be placed correctly on a single line on the remote system into the authorized_hosts file. I think that's the name. Unix is so much easier. I've heard that people have to transmute their ssh-keys generated by putty, if those are the keys used. Just easier to use the ssh-keygen from x2go. It is just like the ssh-keygen on Unix systems. Same options. Same outputs. I setup a Windows x2go with keys a few months ago, just to see how to do it, but honestly I don't use it. For about 5 yrs, I had a Windows client and used x2go all day for work, fullscreen mode. It was good, fast, stable. I'd forget that it was a remote desktop for the stuff I was doing. I'd leave it connected for multiple days.

    Sorry I can't help more with VNC. I consider it to be more dangerous than plan FTP.

  5. #5
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    Re: 20.04 - best method for remote desktop on local network and remote network (inter

    Thanks TheFu

    Just for my understanding, is VNC safe to use on a local network ?

    My intention was to use VNC (which is how Apple Screen Sharing works) when on the local network and X2go for remote connections over the internet using an SSH key.

    Are you saying that VNC on a local network is not safe ?

  6. #6
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    Re: 20.04 - best method for remote desktop on local network and remote network (inter

    I don't consider VNC safe anywhere. Why us it when x2go is faster AND more secure?
    People who converted from VNC to x2go usually say the difference is like night and day.

    If you really want performance, then run your desktop OS inside a KVM VM and use the Spice protocol to connect. Spice is a KVM-only remote desktop protocol. OpenGL framerates can be impressive over Spice. https://www.linux-kvm.org/page/SPICE

    But Gnome3 breaks all these things. Gnome3 is the problem for all remote desktops. Any other DE should work fine with either x2go or Spice.

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