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Hardware:

  • Macbook air as local in-hands computer, connected at home over 802.11G->Verizon FIOS 15mbit down/5mbit up fiber. Also sometimes from other connections fast (university) and slow (hotels etc).
  • Dell poweredge 750 server remotely wired GbE through 25mbit down 15mbit up fiber

Tasks: - Development in Xcode & Typical Office stuff (Mac OS X) - Run Xilinx ISE VHDL tools and circuit simulation debuggers (avail in Linux and Windows) - Run Visio & Project (Windows) - Run Altium Designer circuit design, layout, simulation software (Windows) - Run Visual Studio 2010 (Windows)

Configuration: - Macbook Air running office software, Xcode.. - Poweredge running ubuntu Linux and an XP VM inside of it via vmware server - SSH port punched to Poweredge

So far I've tried to just ssh -X poweredge and run X apps, redirecting them to my local X server on Mac OS X. This worked great from my university's connection (over wifi) but worked poorly at home. Apparantly X protocol is very sensitive to latency.. windows wouldn't accept button presses for instance, would have to click many times. I've heard there are X settings and SSH settings I can use to decrease latency - does anyone know more about these??? As far as security, all I actually care about is encrypting my pw as I log in. It's not a sensitive situation. I suppose a solution would be to set DISPLAY on the Linux box to my IP and port except that it often changes and I'm always behind firewalls (some that I can put holes in like home, some I can't like school)

I've also tried VNC which works "ok"

When using windows, which I haven't tried yet, are my options to remote desktop over SSH and VNC over ssh (run VNC server on XP) - or are there any more? What's likely to work best?

Looking for an answer to tweaking the latency and also any completely fresh ideas or suggestions of tools that may be better suited to this situation

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1 Answer 1

up vote 2 down vote accepted

There's a remote X variant called NX, marketed commercially by NoMachine and in open source variants by the freeNX and NeatX projects. It's basically an improved remote X protocol including local caching and being transported, compressed, over SSH. If you can use this (it will, of course, depend on the installation of a small server on your remote machines), it'll probably improve the situation far more than manual tuning because you can't configure a local cache for X drawing primitives, which NX does.

I like it a lot, but there's one difference to ssh -X: you'll be presented with a login dialog and the entire desktop of the remote machine, not just your app. That, at the same time, is a great advantage over VNC: With VNC, you can only ever have one mouse pointer on the machine, so it's essentially single-user. NX gives you real sessions and allows several users in parallel.

The commercial variant seems to aim to create a Windows Server "soon", but apart from that, I can't help you with the Windows side of your question.

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Awesome! Exactly the kind of thing I was looking for here - and yes I have root on the Linux server –  Nektarios Feb 8 '11 at 15:47
2  
You can have "real sessions" with VNC. Any sane VNC server should be able to act as an X11 server. –  grawity Feb 8 '11 at 16:28
    
Grawity, thanks for the hint, that's new to me. I've worked with vino/vinagre, krdc and krfb, TightVNC and MacOS' internal screensharing function, and missed that feature everywhere. When I now searched for it, I found Xvnc, so at least that should be mentioned here. -- But the "stackexchange way of doing things" would be to create a new question now and move that there, right? –  jstarek Feb 9 '11 at 9:58

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