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General software and network General OS-independent software and network questions, X11, MTA, routing, etc.

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Old 29th September 2011
raindog308 raindog308 is offline
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Default Engineering something like GotoMyPC

I'm going to be hitting the road for a while and was thinking that in the past, services like Splashtop and Mikogo have been useful. Those are in the same category as GotoMyPC, Logmein, etc.

For those not familiar...you install a client on your PC which registers with an Internet service. You install another client on another PC which does the same. PC #2 can then connect over the Internet to get a remote desktop on PC #1. A typical scenario would be if you were in a hotel with your laptop and wanted to connect to your home PC or something. Generally, there's no special ports or firewall rules (at least with Mikogo and Splashtop, which I have used).

Now...for *BSD, I don't think anyone offers that. The clients are just glorified VNC, but it's the Internet registering that is what these companies sell (plus the technical support, etc.)

But I'm wondering how hard it would be to engineer. Assume my PC (running FreeBSD) is sitting behind the typical DHCP'd broadband at home and I want to connect to it from my laptop when I'm in another city.

Would it be as simple as:
  • having the broadband router periodically report (perhaps via email) or record somewhere what its Internet-facing IP is, or perhaps use a dynamic DNS service
  • port-forward on the router the VNC port to the FreeBSD desktop
  • run vncserver on the desktop
  • from the laptop, connect via VNC

Yes, I realize there are security risks - everything in this case rests with VNC not having a security hole, the VNC connection being encrypted, and the VNC password being secure.

In theory, you could have the router periodically poll something (perhaps a web or shell account somewhere) for a file to turn on and off its port forward so it isn't available all the time.

Just thinking out loud
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Old 29th September 2011
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jggimi jggimi is offline
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Step 1. Obtain a domain name for your dynamic IP address from a service like dyndns.org.

Step 2. Install a tool like ddclient that monitors IP address changes and notifies your service.

Step 3. Learn to use ssh(1) and sshd(8).

Step 4. ???

Step 5. Profit!
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Old 29th September 2011
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jggimi jggimi is offline
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Seriously. Using ssh, you can securely tunnel anything you wish, such as X, vnc, http proxy, or any other TCP application. You could even set up a VPN with it to forward all packets and protocols.

Last edited by jggimi; 29th September 2011 at 10:17 AM. Reason: typo
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Old 29th September 2011
BSDfan666 BSDfan666 is offline
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I'm just going to regurgitate jggimi's advice, you could combine OpenSSH's reverse tunnel functionality along with port forwarding to have clients connect to a central location.

From there you could do X or VNC forwarding, or, just simply issue commands.
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