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I currently have an Ubuntu (Maverick Meerkat) box set up acting as my media server / all-purpose server at home.

I also have an OS X laptop and an old Windows XP PC. For the sake of brevity, I will use the following nomenclature:

  • Ubuntu box: meerkat
  • Windows box: redmond
  • OS X box: leopard

Basically, I'd like to be able to start a remote XChat session while on redmond, then disconnect from redmond, open up meerkat and continue that session. Or I'd like to then log on from leopard and continue the XChat session. Currently, I'm using vnc -- but I don't particularly like this, because I set my xstartup script for VNC to start a new gnome-session... but once I disconnect, if I log directly onto meerkat, I'd like the windows I opened up in my VNC $DISPLAY to be portable to my local desktop!

How would I do that? I read a bit about xpra, but I didn't really quite understand if it would actually do what I want. If it truly is a screen for X, then I think it's what I want. Because then I can start a remote XChat on redmond, and continue it off when I log in directly to meerkat's desktop. I also wasn't clear if it'd actually work with Windows. The directions I found for using it/installing it were "opaque" at best.

Similarly, how would I go about forwarding sound when also forwarding Windows? I know that X doesn't actually forward sound, but I read about pulseaudio, but I'm not sure how I'd set up a remote pulseaudio client in Windows/OS X and how I'd forward my sound from meerkat.

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2 Answers 2

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  • Yes, you can use xpra for that. You will need an X11 server on Windows (Xming, Cygwin/X, or Micros~1 Services for Unix) and a SSH client (PuTTY).
    1. Start the X11 server,
    2. enable "X11 forwarding" in PuTTY,
    3. connect to meerkat,
    4. and run xpra as documented. (I don't know how.)
  • OS X comes with ssh and a X11 server.
  • Alternatively, you can find a VNC or RDP server for meerkat that allows you to connect to an existing X11 session.
  • For sound, install a PulseAudio server on Windows. There is no Pulse-over-SSH yet, so configure PulseAudio on meerkat to connect to your Windows PC

In X11 and PulseAudio, the server runs on your PC and clients can be running somewhere else.

In VNC, RDP and most other protocols, you run a client, and the server is remote.

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You can find a more up-to-date xpra version here and an installer for MS Windows there too. Sound support is going to be more tricky.. In my experience, pulseaudio support in xpra is a bandwidth pig (~4Mb/s even idle), so I use winswitch which replaces the pulseaudio forwarding by a gstreamer compressed stream (this works on linux and osx but not on win32 at present). –  totaam Jan 2 '12 at 9:29

Try using the xrdp package to run your VNC session. It you drop your connection sesman will keep your session alive. When you login again, you will reconnect to your existing session. Unfortunately, xrpd does not yet forward sound. Details how I did this is on my Remote Desktops with VNC and XRDP blog post.

I have been using a bluetooth headset to get my sound from pulse-audio. I haven't yet looked at any of the sound broadcasting software.

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