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A Guide to Linux Remote Desktop

Using A Terminal Server, you can effortlessly get mobility, security, and an amazing performance by improving and easing IT management.

25 Aug, 21 by Susith Nonis 9 min Read

List of content you will read in this article:

The current time has awakened the need of working remotely while having access to your complete desktop. Whether you want to allow all your employees to remotely work from any branch offices or the comfort of their home, maybe you want easy troubleshooting tasks for your IT team, or you may want to tweak some settings on a windows machine. Each of these situations can become easier with remote access.

It has become a necessity for IT employees to access the device remotely or provide remote access to their clients. A remote desktop can come in handy in such times. There are few applications available that allow to remotely access and operate a computer over the network from all kinds of devices. 

There are several different protocols.

A Linux Remote Desktop is a unique technology that allows users to take control of any Linux device from anywhere. It helps in faster troubleshooting, decreased turnaround time, and very little interference to the productivity of end clients. Specifically, a remote desktop connection enables a client to gain control over the host device from any location. The remote access helps the client gain remote access to all the files and the software and allows them to securely manage the system and troubleshoot any issues on machines not nearby. 

Remote desktops are also widely used to help customers resolve computer issues. With the customer's permission, you can easily create a VNC, or Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) connection to check or interactively use the computer to troubleshoot or ultimately repair the problem. We'll go through different options for when you want to create a remote connection with various devices on the same network, and then we'll take a look at some tools to get remote access over the internet. 

But one important thing to remember is that allowing remote connections with any computer might also be risky and cause damage if an attacker tries to use this procedure to get access to the computer. Therefore, it is advised to be careful and disallow the remote desktop connections and block such services in the firewall when Remote Desktop is not actively in use.

A Linux Remote Desktop software allows the IT administrators to safely and remotely control any Linux device without any dependency upon location and without being worried about security. It also provides numerous advantages to the administrators of the software that has very few system requirements to execute a specific task on the remote device. Here are some of the key features to always look for in Linux Remote Desktop software:

  • Remote Access - The administrators can have remote access and troubleshoot.
  • Multi-client collaboration - Numerous administrators can connect and join at the same time to solve a problem remotely.
  • Support for different monitors - The administrator can watch and access any of the end client's monitors.

Companies can download applications on a central server rather than on different computers. To utilize those applications, employees should remotely use that server. This type of centralization can help in the maintenance and in making troubleshooting quicker and easier. Such technology was previously identified as Terminal Services (TS). As of now, the web systems are more in use. But, in some cases, Windows remote applications are still very much required.

In such cases, Linux clients can freely utilize Windows computers and servers from their preferred system using an RDP (remote desktop protocol) client. There are some RDP clients present for Linux, and we’ll be mentioning them today:

  • Remmina
  • FreeRDP
  • rdesktop
  • Vinagre

You can select the one you want the best or the one that is perfect for your needs.

Remmina

Remmina is free of cost and open-source, with all the features and a great remote desktop client for Linux and different Unix-like systems. It is for system administrators and travellers, who always require to work with other computers remotely.

It is safe, reliable, and works with different network protocols like RDP, VNC, XDMCP, and SSH. It also allows an integrated and consistent look.

FreeRDP

FreeRDP plays both the role of an app and also a library, which helps in reusing features for different apps. Apart from desktops, all of the other clients mentioned above utilize the FreeRDP library.

Rdesktop

rdesktop is also open-source software that helps you to connect and manage the remote Windows desktop from any Linux computer utilizing the RDP – Remote Desktop Protocol. In simple words, when you’re in front of your Linux system and working on the Windows desktop it is the same as if you’re in front of the complete Windows machine.

Vinagre

Vinagre has very little interface just like Remmina. However, there aren’t as many advanced options in Remmina’s simple GUI. Select the protocol and type the IP address of the VNC server to connect. Vinagre is more user-friendly as compared to Remmina and is very helpful.

As stated above, RDP (remote desktop) is a must to get access to a remote desktop computer. It is a protocol developed by Microsoft. Thus, it becomes easy for users having graphical UI to connect to another computer over a particular network connection. The remote computer should always have RDP server software present and running, and the user gets the RDP client software to connect to it, to connect and manage the remote desktop. There are several other tools that help to access the remote Linux desktop. They are mentioned below:

TeamViewer

Teamviewer is a very popular, secure, and controlled software that can help you connect to various devices at the same time. It is free when it comes to personal use and there is also a premium version available for business users. It is a great application to provide remote support for remote desktop use, it is best for online meetings and file transfer from devices connected via the Internet. 

NoMachine

NoMachine is also a free, high-quality remote desktop software. It enables you a safe personal server. Nomachine helps you to get access to all the files, watch any videos, play audio, and also move them around.  This has an interface that helps you focus on your work and is made to work in a very quick and efficient manner as if you are present in front of your remote desktop. 

Apache Guacamole

Apache Guacamole is a free clientless remote desktop help. It helps in supporting protocols like VNC, RDP, and SSH. It needs absolutely no plugins or any client software; it only uses an HTML5 web application as simple as a web browser. In easy words, the use of computers is not linked to any specific device or any location. For business use, it is available via third parties. 

XRDP

XRDP is a free, open-source platform. It has an easy remote desktop protocol server related to FreeRDP and rdesktop. It helps in using the remote desktop protocol to give a GUI to the user. It can also be utilized to get access to Linux desktops with x11vnc.

FreeNX

FreeNX is also an open-source, quick, and versatile remote access platform. It is a very safe (SSH-based) client /server system, and its major libraries are given by NoMachine.

X2Go

X2Go is a cross-platform remote desktop software related to VNC or RDP, that allows access to any Linux system’s user environment utilizing a protocol, which is channelled via Secure Shell protocol (SSH) for improved encryption of data.

Xpra

Xpra or well known as ‘X’ is a cross-platform server and client software, which enables users to use remote apps and use desktop screens over SSH with or without SSL. It helps you to launch applications on a remote host by showing their screen on the local machine without losing anything after disconnection.

Using A Terminal Server, you can effortlessly get mobility, security, and an amazing performance by improving and easing IT management with the network security while keeping the cost factor in check. Furthermore, the User Interface makes it easier for users to access desktops and applications without any difficulty. A Linux remote desktop comes in very handy when it is difficult to access a full-fledged desktop setup. In a way, this software plays a very vital role for an IT administrator.  

A remote desktop connection only needs everything on the Terminal Server to make all the changes on connected virtual systems. Apart from all the servers and software mentioned in this blog post, numerous other servers also work very well for Linux Remote Desktop. It might be cost-effective as most of these platforms are free of cost, but only to save some money shouldn’t be the only reason to use a remote desktop setup. There are several different reasons mentioned in this blog post that should be the reason for utilizing Linux remote desktop.

Susith Nonis

I'm fascinated by the IT world and how the 1's and 0's work. While I veture into the world of Technology I try to share what I know in the simplest way possible. Not a fan of coffee, a sweet addict and a self accredited 'master chef'.