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How to configure Remote Desktop on my office Ubuntu machine and how to connect to it from my Windows laptop at home?

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Try VNC as Bemrose suggests –  Ram Sep 23 '09 at 13:47
    
Thanks Ram :-) –  joe Sep 24 '09 at 10:54
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As always with these questions, you should first check with your office admin team that this is allowed. They may offer suggestions or need to do configuration to allow access from your home network. –  Col Sep 24 '09 at 13:02
    
Keeping Col's comment in mind: to get the 2nd part of your question answered, you might want to include some details about your current access to the office. (Like: can you VPN to the office, or maybe even ssh into your workstation?) –  Arjan Sep 27 '09 at 20:50
    
And: are you planning to keep your Ubuntu machine running, with a logged-in session? –  Arjan Sep 28 '09 at 9:10
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4 Answers

up vote 9 down vote accepted
+200

Take a look at: http://www.nomachine.com/

NoMachine NX is awesome because it gives you a remote desktop over ssh so it is a secure connection. You install the host on the machine you want to remote into and the client on the computer you want to use to control the other computer. They have versions of NX for Mac, Linux, and Windows, so you can remote from any O/S into any other O/S. It is really great free software, it will amaze you how well it works.

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Performance with NoMachine is also MUCH better than VNC as well... –  EmmEff Sep 21 '09 at 16:17
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See this howto at ubuntugeek. You'll have to make sure that you can directly access your work computer from home, though. This may not be possible due to firewall and router restrictions.

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But, like stated in that article: Ubuntu/GNOME's built-in Remote Desktop will only work if there’s a GNOME login session. That is: if you are already logged in on that remote computer. As long as the GNOME login screen is shown, the built-in Remote Desktop does not work. –  Arjan Sep 28 '09 at 9:09
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The easiest way to do it is with VNC software.

Ubuntu has several options for VNC Servers.

As for the client on the Windows side, I've heard good things about RealVNC. It's a pay product, but they do have a free version.

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GNOME has VNC support built-in... enable under System->Preferences->Remote Desktop –  EmmEff Sep 21 '09 at 16:18
    
@EmmEff, Ubuntu/GNOME's built-in Remote Desktop will only work if there’s a GNOME login session. That is: if you are already logged in on that remote computer. As long as the GNOME login screen is shown, the built-in Remote Desktop does not work. –  Arjan Sep 28 '09 at 9:09
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I definitely am not going to win the bounty for this but, here goes...

What you want to do is called X11 forwarding over SSH. You can run an actual Xserver on your windows machine using Cygwin and have it work with the linux box over ssh.

It is a pain in the ass to set-up even without wrestling with firewalls and port forwarding. But, if you can ssh to the linux machine from your laptop, you should be able to do it.

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why not ? . its different idea :-) –  joe Sep 23 '09 at 16:07
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X11 forwarding can be very fast. The Xnest command might help, to keep the remote windows in one local window -- if wanted. See en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xnest (And when using X-forwarding, you might also run into font issues, which you won't have when using VNC.) –  Arjan Sep 27 '09 at 21:02
    
And, as far as I know: X11 forwarding always creates a (additional) new session (so: starts with the login screen), while VNC options would show the screen of an existing session. (Thus: VNC options will only work if there is an existing session? And VNC options will not work when the GNOME/KDE login screen is shown?) –  Arjan Sep 28 '09 at 9:13
    
You need a good network connection for X11 forwarding to work nicely. –  Peltier Sep 29 '09 at 7:29
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