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Old 23rd June 2011
Randux Randux is offline
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Default Use a server as a desktop?

This question isn't necessarily Solaris related but since I want to use a Sparc server as a desktop I'm asking in this forum.

I have had mixed success with x forwarding over SSH. Is there any reasonable way aside from getting a graphics card for my server box (which I may end up doing) to use a server as a desktop? I have a few desktop systems I could use, I want to be able to somehow use them as a thin client I guess and have my X session running on a PC with the server serving. Anybody have any ideas?
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Old 23rd June 2011
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Originally Posted by Randux View Post
This question isn't necessarily Solaris related but since I want to use a Sparc server as a desktop I'm asking in this forum.

I have had mixed success with x forwarding over SSH. Is there any reasonable way aside from getting a graphics card for my server box (which I may end up doing) to use a server as a desktop? I have a few desktop systems I could use, I want to be able to somehow use them as a thin client I guess and have my X session running on a PC with the server serving. Anybody have any ideas?
Yes, but I am afraid that you will not be able to run on Solaris service. Two that I have used are

NoMachine NX
http://www.nomachine.com/

Unfortunately you have to pay for the server which doesn't run on BSDs. I am not sure about Solaris. Clients are open source and I used on OpenBSD.

Another one is proprietary

http://www.ericom.com/ericom_blaze.asp

which is RDP on steroids. You can not run it on BSDs. It is really good for streaming media.


Finally, you can always try VNC. It is open source and you can tunnel through SSH. It is definitely more efficient than tunneling X.
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Old 24th June 2011
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Yes, but I am afraid that you will not be able to run on Solaris service. Two that I have used are

NoMachine NX
http://www.nomachine.com/

Unfortunately you have to pay for the server which doesn't run on BSDs. I am not sure about Solaris. Clients are open source and I used on OpenBSD.

Another one is proprietary

http://www.ericom.com/ericom_blaze.asp

which is RDP on steroids. You can not run it on BSDs. It is really good for streaming media.


Finally, you can always try VNC. It is open source and you can tunnel through SSH. It is definitely more efficient than tunneling X.
I have used VNC in the past and it's good but I don't think I would want to use it all day long. Are the thin clients any better and how do they differ from vnc? I don't understand the pieces in a gui desktop so I don't understand what has to be done to run a desktop locally from a server.
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I have used VNC in the past and it's good but I don't think I would want to use it all day long. Are the thin clients any better and how do they differ from vnc? I don't understand the pieces in a gui desktop so I don't understand what has to be done to run a desktop locally from a server.
Windows thin clients use RDP or Citrix ICA.
If you have Sun Ray thin client it uses Sun's proprietary Appliance Link Protocol.

Thin clients pre-installed with Linux often use Citrix ICA proprietary protocol or
NoMachine NX (free client side but paid server).

Most recently Ericom Blaze is gaining popularity because of the picture frame rate transfer speed (important for multimedia) Blaze runs on Windows, OS X and Linux.

If you go with BSDs the choice on the thin client side is RDP or NoMachine. I heard that Citrix does run via Linux on NetBSD. Ericom did offer to compile Blaze even for OpenBSD if I buy couple thousand licenses (I work for the University of Georgia System).
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Old 25th June 2011
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Windows thin clients use RDP or Citrix ICA.
If you have Sun Ray thin client it uses Sun's proprietary Appliance Link Protocol.

Thin clients pre-installed with Linux often use Citrix ICA proprietary protocol or
NoMachine NX (free client side but paid server).

Most recently Ericom Blaze is gaining popularity because of the picture frame rate transfer speed (important for multimedia) Blaze runs on Windows, OS X and Linux.

If you go with BSDs the choice on the thin client side is RDP or NoMachine. I heard that Citrix does run via Linux on NetBSD. Ericom did offer to compile Blaze even for OpenBSD if I buy couple thousand licenses (I work for the University of Georgia System).
Thanks, Oko. My clients will be Linux or Solaris Intel. The servers will be Solaris or Open/FreeBSD Sparc. Do you guys know how these thin clients are different from vnc? Do they use a "better" protocol? I don't need multimedia support, my main requirement is to access Solaris Studio IDE and a full desktop preferably on more than one client at the same time because I want to provide a development environment to some of my friends using these servers.
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Old 26th June 2011
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Thanks, Oko. My clients will be Linux or Solaris Intel. The servers will be Solaris or Open/FreeBSD Sparc. Do you guys know how these thin clients are different from vnc? Do they use a "better" protocol? I don't need multimedia support, my main requirement is to access Solaris Studio IDE and a full desktop preferably on more than one client at the same time because I want to provide a development environment to some of my friends using these servers.
They have much higher compression rate and optimization than VNC. VNC is multi-platform protocol which is intended to be used on the wider network (could be of course used locally) for occasional GUI access to remote Desktop (GUI). These other protocols are designed specifically with thin clients in mind, meant to be used 24/7 on the local network (they can be used on the wider network too). They are designed to run on real honest to God thin clients where the real Desktop will be indeed provided by the server. Unless you are after heavy multimedia (streaming videos) any of the above protocols will be sufficient for a great Desktop experience in your environment. The only limitation is what kind a server can be installed on Solaris (OpenBSD/FreeBSD). Honestly in production it is much more common for server to run Windows for example and provide browser with the Flash or Microsoft Office for example for thin clients running some kind BSD. The set up you are trying to make was more common in mid nineties when Solaris used to run Servers at U.S. Universities and people used to have only X terminals.

Last edited by Oko; 26th June 2011 at 01:07 AM.
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Old 23rd June 2011
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If you're on a private LAN, there really isn't any need to tunnel X.. the protocol itself is network aware, many display managers support XDMCP.
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Old 24th June 2011
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If you're on a private LAN, there really isn't any need to tunnel X.. the protocol itself is network aware, many display managers support XDMCP.
Ah, can you say more about that? I'm not a UNIX or PC guy so I'm not familiar with how all this works.
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Old 24th June 2011
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Note: there are a couple different free, open-source NX servers available. FreeNX, Google's, OpenNX, etc. You don't have to pay NoMachine for the server code if you don't want to.
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Old 25th June 2011
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Note: there are a couple different free, open-source NX servers available. FreeNX, Google's, OpenNX, etc. You don't have to pay NoMachine for the server code if you don't want to.
Thanks Phoenix. I didn't plan to buy any software for this because if I have to pay money I'll buy a video card and go direct to the box. I didn't know about the free NX clients, thanks for telling me.
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Old 26th June 2011
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Thanks Oko. I found free downloads of Nomachine NX server for Solaris and Linux and Windows Clients. They let you use the server free up to 2 clients at a time. That's enough for me. I will update the thread when I try this stuff. Cheers.
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