I have done the following locally, however I am planning to do it on a dedicated server that I won't have physical access to.

1) Powerhouse Linux server (CentOS?) with 4-8 GB of ram. 2) VMware or Xen Virtual machines running Windows Server.

I am looking for any tips or tutorials on setting up this type of environment remotely. I am comfortable with getting the server secured, and vmware or xen installed.

The missing link for me (which I haven't done locally) is how I can get the kde/gnome gui running remotely through a secure connection, mostly because I haven't been around linux in a few years and understand that there have been some phenomenal advances that would take me a while to catch up on.

I am stuck running the windows vm to run some Windows only apps that are being converted to java.

My goal is to do an entire setup locally without touching the physical server and have GUI access to it. I am sure there are a few ways to do this and would like to get an idea of what's out there and the pro's and cons of each.

Any takers to point out the obvious?

Thanks in advance!


freeNX offers a very responsive remote desktop connection. On top of this, all communication is done securely over SSH. There is a great guide for setting up freeNX on CentOS that you may be interested in that I cannot post a link to since it is my first day on serverfault! Just search for "freenx centos" on google.

In comparison to VNC, FreeNX offers more responsiveness and does not require the user to setup an SSH tunnel to secure the connection.

The only drawback to FreeNX is that I cannot find an open-source client. The client available from nomachine is gratis but not libre.


For remote access to a Linux desktop the most common solution would be to use VNC over an SSH tunnel.


Wouldn't this really be a case where something like Vmware ESX, would be more appropriate?

What exactly do you need the GUI for? With vmware server you can manage the system remotely and you don't need any windowing environment on the server. To keep a server secure ideally you should avoid installing any windowing environment on the server.

Also, if you have X11 on your personal workstation and SSH access to the server you can run the applications remotely and have the output forwarded to your system.

  • Aha.. I'm wondering if the host would install VMware ESX for me. That would have me doing backflips. I want to avoid windowing environments myself as I do have secure KVM over IP that should suffice. X11 sounds like a fantastic idea as well. Ideally if ESX can be loaded, it would be the best. – Jas Panesar May 21 '09 at 23:34

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