SSH is one powerful tool. You can do just about everything under the sun using an SSH login to a remote computer. SSH works very well in low-bandwidth situations like dialup, or satlinks.
But wakeup, we’re no longer in the 80s – people want GUIs, let’s give them fancy-pants graphics, bouncing cursors and silly linux wizards. Remotely.
Enter Xming, what I would name as top of my favorite applications. Xming is just like X over SSH, for dummies (or people who would rather spend more time working).
Xming allows you to connect to remote or local Linux workstations and servers and run full graphical applications on those remote machines on your local Windows computer.
Here’s how it works: all of the applications are run remotely, but when it comes to the graphics, the information that would invoke the graphics is sent to your local computer, not a bitmap or a sequence of bitmaps like VNC. Xming uses a local X server on your Windows computer in order to display your remote applications. This local X server is 2D accelerated, and it’s sometimes difficult to even notice that you are working remotely.
Since Xming can run in windowed or full-screen modes, you can establish thin client connections in this fashion, or you can publish applications Citrix-style.
Xming is completely free to install and setup. It is a great way to manage virtual machines, and in fact is often faster than Microsoft’s Virtual Server ActiveX control (surprised?), VMWare’s Virtual Machine view (even with VMWare tools!), and even Parallels speedy virtual machine view.
To set the whole thing up, you’ll need a computer running Microsoft Windows, one Linux box, a network connection between the two, but you won’t need much effort.
First install the Windows Xming server on your Windows computer. We’ll use Windows XP SP2 in this example, but it could easily be other varieties. Xming can be found on Sourceforge quite easily, download it, run the install (use defaults), and start XLauncher.
On the Linux computer this are slighlty more complicated, but not by much. For Gnome or KDE on Ubuntu Edgy, go to the System>Administration menu in your menu bar. In Administration, we’ll select login preferences as we’ll be setting up a new logon method (we’re using XDMCP). Select the Remote tab, and enable remote logon (same as local) to your Edgy Eft machine.
Now on your Windows machine, set up XLaunch to logon to your Linux machine using it’s IP address. Save the setting if you want, and connect. You will be presented with a logon screen to your Linux desktop!