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Samba HowTo Guide
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Remote Management from NoMachine.Com

The following information was posted to the Samba mailing list at Apr 3 23:33:50 GMT 2003. It is presented in slightly edited form (with author details omitted for privacy reasons). The entire answer is reproduced below with some comments removed.

I have a wonderful Linux/Samba server running as PDC for a network. Now I would like to add remote desktop capabilities so users outside could login to the system and get their desktop up from home or another country.

Is there a way to accomplish this? Do I need a Windows Terminal server? Do I need to configure it so it is a member of the domain or a BDC or PDC? Are there any hacks for MS Windows XP to enable remote login even if the computer is in a domain?

Answer provided: Check out the new offer of “NX” software from NoMachine.

It implements an easy-to-use interface to the Remote X protocol as well as incorporating VNC/RFB and rdesktop/RDP into it, but at a speed performance much better than anything you may have ever seen.

Remote X is not new at all, but what they did achieve successfully is a new way of compression and caching technologies that makes the thing fast enough to run even over slow modem/ISDN connections.

I test drove their (public) Red Hat machine in Italy, over a loaded Internet connection, with enabled thumbnail previews in KDE konqueror, which popped up immediately on “mouse-over”. From inside that (remote X) session I started a rdesktop session on another, a Windows XP machine. To test the performance, I played Pinball. I am proud to announce that my score was 631,750 points at first try.

NX performs better on my local LAN than any of the other “pure” connection methods I use from time to time: TightVNC, rdesktop or Remote X. It is even faster than a direct crosslink connection between two nodes.

I even got sound playing from the Remote X app to my local boxes, and had a working “copy'n'paste” from an NX window (running a KDE session in Italy) to my Mozilla mailing agent. These guys are certainly doing something right!

I recommend test driving NX to anybody with a only a passing interest in remote computing the NX utility.

Just download the free-of-charge client software (available for Red Hat, SuSE, Debian and Windows) and be up and running within 5 minutes (they need to send you your account data, though, because you are assigned a real UNIX account on their testdrive.nomachine.com box).

They plan to get to the point were you can have NX application servers running as a cluster of nodes, and users simply start an NX session locally and can select applications to run transparently (apps may even run on another NX node, but pretend to be on the same as used for initial login, because it displays in the same window. You also can run it full-screen, and after a short time you forget that it is a remote session at all).

Now the best thing for last: All the core compression and caching technologies are released under the GPL and available as source code to anybody who wants to build on it! These technologies are working, albeit started from the command line only (and very inconvenient to use in order to get a fully running remote X session up and running).

To answer your questions:

  • You do not need to install a terminal server; XP has RDP support built in.

  • NX is much cheaper than Citrix and comparable in performance, probably faster.

  • You do not need to hack XP it just works.

  • You log into the XP box from remote transparently (and I think there is no need to change anything to get a connection, even if authentication is against a domain).

  • The NX core technologies are all Open Source and released under the GPL you can now use a (very inconvenient) command line at no cost, but you can buy a comfortable (proprietary) NX GUI front end for money.

  • NoMachine is encouraging and offering help to OSS/Free Software implementations for such a front-end too, even if it means competition to them (they have written to this effect even to the LTSP, KDE, and GNOME developer mailing lists).

Samba HowTo Guide
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