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I'm looking for a free solution that runs on Ubuntu and allows to remotely manage an Ubuntu desktop (local display :0), even at the login/gdm phase.. What would you recommend?
Many thanks!

(For the record, right now I'm using x11vnc but it doesn't look very stable when started from gdm)

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

Many people use VNC because it's so mature and platform independent. I can't tell you if it runs at login phase but you should also try FreeNX due to the increased speed over slow links as well as additional security. You can also use a Windows box to control a Linux server with FreeNX. Here are a couple links:


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I just found this article:… so maybe FreeNX can do logins.. I'll give it a try, thanks! – Joril Jun 3 '09 at 12:08
For the record, it works! I'm using FreeNX on the server and the official client though.. The freenx one cannot use "shadow" sessions at the moment – Joril Aug 7 '09 at 12:41
Scratch that :/ It allows shadow sessions (sharing display :0) but if there's no user logged in, it can't connect to the login window.. – Joril Aug 7 '09 at 13:29
That's a bummer. Keep us in the loop if you find something that works. – scotthere Aug 14 '09 at 22:53

Might not do everything you want, but I would recommend freenx or ssh -X. XDMCP sends all network traffic unencrypted, so it's very insecure. If you do use XDMCP, at least tunnel it through ssh:

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Try if xrfb works better than x11vnc.

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According to the page, xrfb isn't maintained anymore, since march 2008... Thanks for your hint though :) – Joril Jun 3 '09 at 12:03

You should also look at turning on XDMCP, which basically presents you with the login screen remotely, and then manages a remote, thin GNOME session for you.


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According to the page you linked "each login has their own session", so it wouldn't match my needs.. :/ Thanks all the same though! – Joril Jun 3 '09 at 12:06

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