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Remote desktop to Mac from various platforms (Windows, Ubuntu)

I have an old machine running latest Ubuntu. Machine is Dell Optiplex gx260. I would like to know the best solution for a Remote Desktop solution to log into Ubuntu machine from my Mac that is:

  1. Free
  2. Fast

And if the software is not easy to install, then some instructions or link to those will be appreciated. Thanks.

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Check out these threads. VNC, IME, gets horrible performance because it's only sending a screencast of your desktop compared to other solutions that send the much smaller (and therefore faster) drawing instructions. –  digitxp Sep 3 '10 at 19:12
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marked as duplicate by Sathya, Diago Sep 5 '10 at 9:45

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2 Answers

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What types of applications do you need to access on the Ubuntu side? If you don't need the entire desktop, you could consider using SSH with X11 forwarding. That is, log into Ubuntu from OS X using ssh -X and then run GUI programs. This depends on you installing X11 on OS X, which is available on your Mac OS X Install DVD.

A guide is available at this link. It's for an older version of Ubuntu; I think X11 forwarding is enabled by default in the current version 10.04. Of course, you could load the entire desktop, such as the example in the image below.

SSH with X11 forwarding

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X11 forwarding seems like the way to go. I do need to see the whole desktop though. Hope it can do that. –  sabertooth Sep 4 '10 at 14:26
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If you're looking for easy performance gains download the Java client for tightVNC and use it under OS X.

You do need a bash script to launch the java viewer on OS X easily (otherwise you have to do it manually via terminal).

#!/bin/bash
cd /Users/PATH/tightvnc/classes
java VncViewer HOST "HOST-IP" PORT 5900

and the preliminary solution was use VNC (Chicken of VNC) and must have vnc server on your ubuntu.
One thing that's sort of strange about the default VNC server on Ubuntu is that it requires you to be logged in at the terminal before it will share the desktop.

One thing you might try is sshing in and running an independent vncserver, set the password with vncpasswd, and then connect in from the mac.

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2  
VNC gets horrible performance IME compared to RDP, XDMCP, etc. –  digitxp Sep 3 '10 at 19:08
    
It's not too bad, and besides, the VNC server is already installed on Ubuntu. –  nhinkle Sep 3 '10 at 19:12
    
I have heard about the performance issue with vnc –  sabertooth Sep 4 '10 at 14:23
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