With x2go you can access your desktop using another computer -- that means both LAN and internet connections. The transmmission is done using the ssh protocol, so it is encrypted. By using the free nx libraries from NoMachine, a very acceptable permformance in both speed and responsiveness is archieved. Even an ISDN-connection runs smoothly.
This makes it is possible to connect your laptop to any computer with the environment, applications, and performance of the remote desktop. It is also possible to have a bunch of computers connected to a single server (terminal-server, thin-client).
Clients are available for Linux (Qt4 and Gtk), Windows and Mac. The latter two can be downloaded directly from the x2go homepage.
x2go and Arch Linux
Arch Linux x2go packages are available in the AUR. Currently the server, and the gtk/qt clients are available. The LDAP based usermanagement suite is not yet finished, nor are tools that make x2go more convenient for use in schools and thin client environments. But work is going on.
Installation and configuration
Configuring the Server
Install the x2goserver package:
In order to do this, one must build x2goagent first. This is only tricky because x2goagent requires the compiled sources of nxcomp, nxcompext, and nxcompshad to be available to it. After building each of the dependancies, make sure the src directories available in the following directory structure:
./nxcomp/src ./nxcompext/src ./nxcompshad/src ./x2goagent (this is the one you build at the moment)
Given a working X-server plus Desktop-Environment (e.g. KDE) or window manager, you have to do the following:
Install the ssh-daemon:
pacman -Sy openssh /etc/rc.d/sshd start
If the TCP-wrapper is active (see /etc/hosts.deny or /etc/hosts.allow), you have to include sshd there. To have sshd started at boot time, you also have to put it into the daemeons line in /etc/rc.conf, e.g.
DAEMONS=(... network ... sshd ...)
Load the fuse module:
This makes it possible for the server to access files on the client computer.
To have this module loaded at boot time, you also have to put it into the MODULES line in /etc/rc.conf, e.g.
Add user priviledges: Some users or groups need the rights to run a program as root.
pacman -Sy sudo visudo
An example for an entry in this file for all members of the group users:
%users ALL=(ALL) NOPASSWD: /usr/bin/x2gopgwrapper
Initialize the SQL database and start the SQL server:
This creates internally used tables of PostgreSQL. Now the x2go database and its tables are created this way:
cd /usr/lib/x2go ./x2gocreatebase.sh
The SQL-server and the x2goserver have to be restarted:
/etc/rc.d/postgresql restart /etc/rc.d/x2goserver start
If you want to have this services started at boot time, include them in the DAEMONS line in /etc/rc.conf
DAEMONS=(... network ... sshd ... postgresql ... x2goserver)
Configuration of the Client
Install the client:
You may choose x2goclient (for qt) or x2goclient-gtk (for gtk)
Double check ssh
Convince yourself that you can open a ssh-session from the client to the server (host).
Within the local network this should not be a problem. The way you connect from beyond your network, lets say the internet, to your comuter at home is a question of how your network is build up. This would go beyond the scope of this article. Therefore here only a few items:
- A port has to be opened at the router resp. gateway which forwards requests to your server, and there especially to the sshd-port (which normally is 22). To prevent a big part of the portscan attacks it is probably better to have 222 as publicly reachable port.
- To prevent you from having the need to keep your public IP address in mind (especially if this changes dynamically) it is advisable to use a dynamic DNS-Service (DynDNS, DynIP). Many routers are preconfigured to be reachable under a name rather than an IP address.
Enough preliminaries! Now to the x2goclient. Run it:
This opens the client application. You can now create several sessions, which then appear on the right side and can be selected by a mouseclick. Each entry consists of your username on the server, hostname and IP and the port for ssh-connection. Furthermore you can define several speed profiles (coming from modem up to LAN) and the desktop environment you want to start remotely.
Do not simply choose the defaults of KDE or Gnome, since the executables startkde or startgnome are usually not in the PATH when logging in using ssh. Use full paths to startkde or startgnome. You can also start openbox or another window manager.
You should be asked for your password for your user at the server now and after login you will see the x2go logo for a short time, and -- voila -- the desktop.
Exchange data between client and server(desktop)
On the x2goclient (e.g. laptop) local directories could be shared. The server will use fuse and sshfs to access this directory and mount it to a subdirectory media of your home directory on the server. This enables you to have access to laptop data on your server or to exchange files. It is also possible to mount these shares automatically at each session start.
To leave a session temorarily
Another special feature of x2go is the possibility of suspending a session. This means you can leave a session on one client and reopen it even from another client at the same point. This can be used to to start a session in the LAN and to reopen it later on a laptop. The session data are stored and administrated in a potges databse on the server in the meanwhile. The state of the sessions is protocolled by a process named x2gocleansessions.
At the moment the package consists mainly of the x2goserver and the x2goclient. It is planned to add in near future:
- LDAP-Integration. This allow the administration of users, sessions and logins using LDAP. This is an interesting feature for schols or companys. For this purpose there are control programs which integrate themselves into the KDE Control Center.
- The client for the command line. Furtermore the option to use x2goclient as an login screen for thin clients.
- the possibility to use locale devices (CD, floppy, USB-stick) remotely and transparently.
Questions and problems? You could contact me also directly. GerBra
(Many thanks to Stefan Husmann for translation from archlinux.de wiki)