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I'm working on a CentOS-based server appliance (either physical or VM) sold to our customers.

We want to include some remote assistance tool in the appliance that would let us log into the appliance (command-line such as ssh is OK) to provide support to our customers.

Of course:

  1. The customer should be able to enable/disable the remote assistance daemon on demand (that is when he needs assistance).
  2. The solution must work accross firewalls.

Basically, I need something a la Fogcreek Copilot or TeamViewer but for Linux servers. (BTW, I see that TeamViewer has a Linux version. Will look into it ASAP. Would like to know about other solutions though).


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My suggestion would be to use a reverse SSH tunnel. It provides an easy way to kick on and off and can be set up to provide full CLI access remotely.

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Tim, thanks, interesting link. Do you think it would work through the TCP 443 in order to reduce firewall friction? – Serge Wautier Oct 10 '11 at 16:09
It should but I would recommend against it. A lot of folks frown on protocol tunneling like that. It can also cause a headache for firewalls that use SSL inspection such as Forefront. – Tim Brigham Oct 10 '11 at 17:26

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