X2Go Remote Desktop

X2Go provides a remote desktop from our server on your computer.

X2Go is a replacement for NX which is based upon the NX 3.5 libraries. X2Go includes support for sound (though on a Windows system I tested it on, it tended to stutter).

Unlike other NX clients, X2Go doesn’t require installing a key. Setup is extremely easy on Linux.

On Windows it requires Ming X-server and installs it as part of the installation process.

On MacOS, it requires XQuartz which you must install.  It is reported to work under Leopard and Snow Leopard but does seem to work under Lion where it has key mapping issues similar to OpenNX.

X2Go setup instructions are at http://www.eskimo.com/shell/visual/x2go.html.

Maintenance Saturday Morning – January 11th 2014 – 00:05AM – 02:00AM

We will have to reboot and image all the machines Saturday morning just after midnight.

There will be about a 15 minute downtime of everything and then individual services will go down for 15-20 minutes.  I’m hoping a two hour window will be enough time to complete everything but if not, we may need more time Sunday morning.

The reboot is necessary to load the latest Linux kernel, and the images to capture the machines in their current state in case one needs to be restored.


Tonights Maintenance

Tonights maintenance didn’t go entirely smooth.  Machines are having problem syncing time with ntp and ntpdate when they come up.  It’s a flaky intermittent weirdness that is difficult to troubleshoot.

As a consequence I didn’t get the backup of the web server done, so I’m going to do that Sunday morning shortly after midnight.

I also will be available after approximately 11am Saturday morning owing to how long this took and how late I’m getting to bed (which will be just after this post).

Maintenance Saturday Morning – January 4th 00:05AM – 1AM

Early Saturday morning, just after midnight, I will be performing some system maintenance.

First will be a reboot of the main file server to test the shutdown and start-up scripts to be sure I’ve got all the bugs worked out.  This will take everything down briefly, but if successful, that is to say if I’ve killed all the bugs in the shutdown and start-up scripts, this will only take about five minutes.

This will be followed by about 15 minutes of downtime for the web server for imaging to make sure the backup image has the current 2.4.7 Apache, the current 7.25 version of Drupal, and some other recent updates to our website.

Visual Access to Shell

Our instructions for visual access use a No Machine product called 3.5 Client.  Unfortunately, this is no longer available.

Nx 4.0 Player DOES WORK with our service although it can take 4 or 5 attempts typically to get a connection and setup is more complex.  I am working on a new set of instructions of use with it.

Also, on Windows and Linux, OpenNX and X2Go also work with our system although X2Go sometimes doesn’t play nice with other applicaitons.  On McIntosh systems, these products seem to have key mapping issues.

An alternative to No Machine (NX) 4.0 Player for Mac is a VNC client.  I recommend Chicken VNC (this is a derivative of Chicken of the VNC and is better because it supports tunneling through ssh).

VNC does not compress as efficiently as NX but if you have a broadband connection, the response is satisfactory.  X2Go is new and somewhat spotty still, but when it does work, it also provides sound (but that also is intermittent).

For Windows, TightVNC performs well but is insecure since everything passes plain-text unless you setup an ssh tunnel using putty or other windows ssh client.   The risks with TightVNC are essentially the same as those of telnet or rlogin, everything is passed over the Internet plain-text.

I’m working on support pages for these newer products and always looking for something more solid, but on the bleeding edge, that’s sometimes how things are.