Previous posts documented the trials of setting up VNC on Xubuntu for the old machine that runs as our family server. Since the install I have been careful not to include vncserver in any updates as it has a habit of breaking the setup, but this is not really viable long term.
While reading another post I came across NoMachine NX 3.0 improves remote access to Linux boxes which reminded me that I have been planning to look into NX as an alternative to vnc that would not be broken by Xubuntu updates. The post was not too encouraging but I went ahead with the help of Install NX Server on Ubuntu Dapper Drake.
Installing glib libraries brought back memories of the early days of using linux. I suppose it is an inevitable consequence of open development but a bit of pain and a real barrier for new users.
Using synaptic install libstdc++2.10-glibc2.2 (this advice came from the NX support site article for NX 1.5 so it may not really be necessary)
Download NX components
Downloading nxnode and nxclient DEB files from NoMachine Downloads was straightforward. Finding the free server was not entirely straighforward as there is now the desktop server. I chose to navigate from the homepage from the article on the free server.
Install from the command line
Again a bit of a throwback to earlier days, but just three commands executed from the directory where the installation DEB files were stored
dpkg -i nxclient-XXXXXXXi386.deb
dpkg -i nxnode-XXXXXXXi386.deb
dpkg -i nxserver-XXXXXXXi386.deb
I found I needed to install the nxclient before the nxnode because of dependencies.
Run the client
Everything had gone smoothly to this point, but it was here that I came across a problem that I only solved by trial and error.
The client install in Xubuntu and in Windows both created nice menu items making it easy to specify a connection. All would go well up to getting a remote desktop to come up in the nxclient window at which point the client reported that the it was unable to run the required file. The problem was that all the advice assumes a straightforward gnome-based Ubuntu installation and this is Xubuntu.
The configuration setting required for Xubuntu is
Desktop = Unix XDM
This gives you the Xubuntu login screen (just like vnc).
Still to do
At the moment this is running on the local network, but the intention is open things out. In which case I need/plan to change the port settings from 22 to something else as suggested in this blog post. I will also create a user specially for logging into the nxserver. NAT port forwarding also needs to be sorted out.
This was not obvious from the scraps of documentation I used, probably because it is standard linux practice but as an aide memoire these are the commands to control the nxserver;
sudo /usr/NX/bin/nxserver –status/start/stop/restart
There are lots of other options, just run the command without the switches for a list