Linux in Government: Major Breakthrough in Linux Technology

Initially misunderstood, FreeNX is starting to build momentum.

Often, technology breakthroughs never see the light of day. Sometimes, they pop up and people simply go "ho-hum". I've had personal experiences with that kind of reception in the past and understand the frustrations and disappointments.

When you conceive an idea and bring it into reality, you have an expectation of an immediate embrace. In your mind, you see something like a ticker-tape parade welcome. But, then the phone doesn't ring, and the press release gets set on the shelf.

In the era of information overload, perhaps some people think of new technology as another thing with which they have to cope. They immediately put it off until tomorrow. But tomorrow never comes, so they put it to the side.

The same phenomenon occurs within the media. Many writers do not understand their beats. Instead, they regurgitate press releases, opinions of people in their networks and the insights of others.

Then, we have the skeptics and the "so-what" crowd. I read a comment following an article about FreeNX that said, "Excuse me if I'm skeptical of something that will claim to change the world". The comment came after numerous testimonials about how great FreeNX works in schools and companies.

Despite all of this, Fabian Franz and Kurt Pfeifle have a breakthrough technology. They created the first usable implementation of the GPL version of NX. In an interview conducted around the time FreeNX was announced, they expressed extreme optimism about their project's future. You can sense their vision and euphoria simply by reading the interview. In short, they expected their project to run away from them.

But Freinz and Pfeifle's project, the FreeNX project, has not received the coverage it deserves. Certainly, their dreams and aspirations have not yet materialized fully. Compared to VNC and Microsoft's RDP, the media treats NX seems like a blip on the screen, in spite of its vastly superior nature.

Gian Filippo Pinzari, who developed the original NX code, may have similar feelings, as he discontinued the NX developers and users mailing-lists on May 25th, 2005. He hopes to see the mailing-lists move to the FreeNX project. He explained his reasons in an e-mail dated May 19. Here's an excerpt:

It is not easy to build a presence in the Linux market...

We want to remain collaborative while being paid for support. We want to give away most of the software we produce and keep selling some of it. We want to dedicate ourselves to bringing an idea to success, invest money and most of our time, gather talents, cultivate a culture, remain entrepreneurs while being developers. They are all freedoms that, for us, are as important as having the chance of modifying the source code. In a perfect OSS world, users must be free to choose their software and avoid being locked into a single solution. At the same time, thousands of Linux companies around the world must be free to grow a business while remaining independent. If you like freedom as we do, you will surely understand our point.

Quite eloquently, Gian Filippo Pinzari sums up the dreams and aspirations of many open-source visionaries. He runs a small but growing company. In the spirit of free/open-source software, he released his core technology under GPL licenses.

Perhaps Pinzari has moments when he questions the viability of that decision. For those with an eye for significant discoveries, FreeNX should follow the successful open-source business model: give away the recipe and sell the cake.

What Is FreeNX?

For technically inclined people, imagine X server technology with compression so tight that GNOME and KDE sessions run over modems with SSH encryption. Image lightening-fast thin clients that use tiny amounts of bandwidth and handle audio and video, printing and session suspension instead of termination. Imagine real virtual KVM switches without hardware. Say goodbye to SunRay servers and all the thin clients that never lived up to their promise. Think about real heterogeneous interoperability on PCs and devices that scale.

For the less technically inclined, imagine system administrators being able to see and operate every server in their data centers with a single keyboard, video console and mouse--without a hardwire switch and hundreds of cables.

Or, imagine that when you call for support, someone logs on to your computer remotely and fixes it. Imagine logging onto your computer for work and forgetting you're at home. Or, imagine setting up a single computer in a closet that everyone in the family can access from an inexpensive device, and you control the content. How about clients for PlayStation2, iPAQ or Zaurus 5XXX?

Gian Filippo Pinzari invented NX based on X. He took the fat and insecure X client/server and utilized inventive compression to make it very thin. His company, NoMachine.com, released the code under the GPL license in 2003. Now, the Open Source community has something that goes beyond the "me-too" category. Some users have referred to FreeNX as a Citrix and Windows Terminal Server killer.

______________________

Comments

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

A note on RDP...

Anonymous's picture

RDP is actually very good. I'm not sure why it's dogged so much - it's very fast even on slower links, it does perfect printer, file, and sound redirection, and there's a GPL client rdesktop that does it all, and better then the official MS client (faster screen updates, HQ sound.)

We have over 400 users on thin clients using RDP every single day for office work and we never get a complaint about it being slow.

So, I think NX just needs to be AS good as RDP. If it is, which it appears to be from using it a little bit, then it's just fine.

It should be noted that Citrix ICA is just a cut above everything still. It's a much more evolved system.

love the use of keys EVERYWHERE

Jason Sjobeck's picture

We love using public/private keys *everywhere* possible. This is one of the strongest persuasive points for us for 'nomachine'. I wish more remote access solutions (krdc, rdesktop, vnc, etc) used keys for authentication. Hell, I wish email required the user of keys, but, ah ... forget it, never happen. Keep up the good work, my Roman friends.

Peace. Love. Linux.

Jason Sjobeck

Broken Link?

Archtoad6's picture

When (2005/11/21) I clicked on the Ubuntu backports community link
http://backports.ubuntuforums.org
I came across a blog topped by dumb Chuck Norris jokes. I searched for "FreeNX" both w/in the site & through a Google site search -- no luck.

Could you provide a more exact link to the referenced info?

managing client.id_dsa.key files

SteveRiley's picture

I've successfully made a connection to one server machine. Great! I hope to install Linux on computers of some relatives and administer them remotely.

If I want to make a connection to a different machine, then do I have the client.id_dsa.key files of two different servers? How do I manage more than one key file?

Thanks,

Steve

Can FreeNX work with XDMCP on HP-UX?

Anonymous's picture

I've tried to use a FreeNX client (on a Knoppix LiveCD) to connect to a X Windows login session running on a HP-UX server, via XDMCP but failed. Is this way of connecting possible? If yes, can someone show me the config steps?

It won't work. You'ld do two

Anonymous's picture

It won't work. You'ld do two things: login to the other machine and then use use your local pc as an xserver.
As common in client-server computing, your must have the right pairs.

Connecting via XDMCP (UDP/Port 177) is an security risk and no more the common way. After logging in HPUX Xserver, it's executing /usr/dt/bin/Xsession (like the other CDE-Oldies) as default. But if you already have an session manager (e.g. kdm) running you won't be able to start the second. So is starting an ssh-client (option -X or kssh) the way to get connected. Afterwards you can check $DISPLAY and start some X apps. But this would neglect the topic of this threads.

Your need is surely for an NX server on HP-UX. I'm personally not seeing any problem of compiling FreeNX for HP-UX. Majority of free software is contributed to this architecture via http://hpux.connect.org.uk or your nearest outlet. To date there are no packages available. Maybe someone is doing this service for you. Otherwise you'll find there libs and compilers to self service. Good luck.

PS: There's an comparable answer after searching www.sunfreeware.com ;^)

freeNX and LTSP

Anonymous's picture

I currently run an LTSP setup in my home for the same reasons cited in the article and some of the previous posts. 3 years ago I needed to upgrade my old equipment and ended up purchasing a dual athlon 1800 and 4 network cards with etherboot eproms for under $1500. I removed everything from my old PIs and PII's except the mobo/cpu/ram/video/network (client workstations are completely diskless) so it boots over the network and runs everything on the server, from the server. This setup instantly gave me 4 seats, no waiting (headless server). This was an ideal situation as I was looking at having to replace the 5 computers which would have cost more than twice (maybe thrice) what I paid if I would have bought into the fat client architecture. I have exceptional performance now as everything runs on the server (100 mbit switch with gigabit uplink to server included in price).

I was just curious if this would work in this environment as there is no place to store a key on the client. I guess it could be on the NFS filesystem mounted as root on the clients and then it would be available to everyone including future expansion. I am also curious as if the performance would actually be better.

The reason I ask is I have tried to implement a wireless (802.11b) segment on my ltsp setup. Since I do not trust WEP as far as I can throw my house I decided to run an open node and put a VPN behind it. The cpu demands from the vpn software bring my wireless client to a grinding halt. If I remove the vpn the performance was adequate but I do not feel comfortable leaving it open. I know it is not the 11 mbps limit of the wireless node, it is the cpu of the client and my vpn server (client is 233mhz and router/server is 166mhz OpenBSD). So if I read the article correctly I would at least move the encryption portion to my dualie server that has more cpu than I probably ever need. Most thin clients run on 300-500mhz processors so my 233mhz client should cut the mustard there.

I also am not sure if you can get a desktop (ala XDMCP) as X provides. This would be a requirement in my case as the server also provides the desktop for the clients. Your article mentions running apps in full screen mode but makes no mention of whether you can use a remote desktop without another tool tunneling through freeNX.

Just curious

No thanks...

Anonymous Joe's picture

I've tried freeNX but I wasn't really impressed. I still get better performance starting virtual terminals with TightVNC tunneled through SSH.

No thanks...

Anonymous's picture

Useless post. You cannot possibly get better performance from VNC than FreeNX. That's impossible.

Worse performance than VNC?

Kurt Pfeifle's picture

You cannot possibly get better performance from VNC than FreeNX. That's impossible.
----

Actually, you can!

In most cases, this is due to wront configuration settings, though: Use a very fast, very low latency network, combine it with a *very* old, *very* slow client, where the CPU is overloaded with the encryption (while VNC does not use encryption) -- and you may get a slower NX session than the VNC session.

I dare to say however that in all cases NX can be set up to be faster than VNC. (Just leave away encryption and reduce compression, if your client has a weak CPU, but sits in a fast LAN...)

You know, I can drive a Ferrari slow, too, even slower than a grand-grandma on a bicycle ;-)

Kurt Pfeifle
(FreeNX Developer Team)

bzzt

Anonymous's picture

I still get better performance starting virtual terminals with TightVNC tunneled through SSH.

Fanboy alert. Fanboy alert.

Anonymous's picture

Fanboy alert. Fanboy alert.

Sorry, but

Anonymous's picture

where's the link to Linux in Government? How is the government going to use this? I don't understand.

Sorry, but use your mind

Anonymous's picture

Governments are enterprises and use may different applications for many different reasons. Governments are the largest users of thin client computing. With the increasing use of devices, wireless service, cross agency data sharing, etc. a product like FreeNX can become part of the suite of single sign-in identity management and trusted user access.

If someone wants secure data access across an enterprise and they want to build their own solution, this would work.

Also, in eGovernment where end users are not employees of an agency but interact with the IT infrastructure, FreeNX could provide kiosk access to forms, for example. Or, if people had the proper credentials, they could make deliveries and use FreeNX for security. If could also provide for Emergency Alerts, etc.

Linux is for real and throughout the globe, governments have turned to Linux for numerous reasons. FreeNX allows users to have remote desktop display the way Citrix does for NT technology. It doesn't take much of an imagination to see the uses here.

Fred

easy way to try freenx server

Anonymous's picture

FreeNX comes with the Knoppix Live CD versions 3.6 and higher. Simple tutorial here.

Connect to multiple servers

Tim Wunder's picture

Can the NX Client be used to connect to multiple servers? The only way I've been able to get it to work is copying back and forth the respective client.id_dsa.key files in "C:\Program Files\NX Client for Windows\share\"

I can have two sessions open at the same time, but need to connect one at a time, replacing the client.id_dsa.key for each connection attempt.

Seems rather inelegant to me. :(

Client handling of multiple keys for multiple servers

Kurt Pfeifle's picture

Tim,

from what I hear from NoMachine, they will include an additional feature into their NX client which makes the handling of multiple keys for different servers more elegant.

Expect the same to occur for the KDE NX client too...

But for now, you could use the same key for each server. That would spare you from tha copying over keys as you describe.

Just to be clear: this key does not give you access to the NX session, or to any useful shell on the NX server. It is only used to get at all as far as to a virtual login prompt; only this login prompt then takes the *real* login credentials which go through that encrypted channel established by the pub-key connection....

Cheers,
Kurt Pfeifle
(FreeNX Developer Team,
Contributor to the KDE Project)

Google "summer of Code" bounties anyone

Kurt Pfeifle's picture

The FreeNX Team is working on several issues and new features currently. You can also see some projected sub-tasks in this list of "Google Summer of Code" suggestions. Students interested in working for FreeNX in return for such a Google bounty are welcome to contact us.

Finally, here are some links for those interested in FreeNX:

=====
Let me finally say this: FreeNX isn't exactly a "cousin" of NoMachine's NX, but rather an offspring. Without Gian Filippo Pinzari's marvellous work, and without the agreement of NoMachine's management to put his gem of software development (mainly the nxcomp NX compression technology) under the GPL, FreeNX would never have come into existence.

Cheers,
Kurt Pfeifle
(member of the FreeNX Developer Team,
contributor to the KDE Project)

Does NX have "assist" mode?

Tomasz Chmielewski's picture

Does NX have "assist" mode?

Like two or more people connecting to the same session, and one of them (helpdesk?) showing what to do etc.?

Assist mode? --> Use VNC tunneled through NX!

Kurt Pfeifle's picture

A native "screen sharing" mode is being worked on. (This is not the easiest thing to get right, given that one wants security to go with it too...)

But you can work around this by running a vncserver process on your (Free)NX server. Then connect to the NX server and ask it to proxy to the vncserver. This way you piggy-back your VNC/RDP session and tunnel it through the NX pipe. It will give you an efficiency increas of up to 7 times over a direct, vanilla VNC link....

Cheers,
Kurt Pfeifle
(FreeNX Develper Team)

Assist mode? --> Use VNC tunneled through NX!

Kurt Pfeifle's picture

A native "screen sharing" mode is being worked on. (This is not the easiest thing to get right, given that one wants security to go with it too...)

But you can work around this by running a vncserver process on your (Free)NX server. Then connect to the NX server and ask it to proxy to the vncserver. This way you piggy-back your VNC/RDP session and tunnel it through the NX pipe. It will give you an efficiency increas of up to 7 times over a direct, vanilla VNC link....

Cheers,
Kurt Pfeifle
(FreeNX Develper Team)

native NX "screen sharing" would be better :)

Tomasz Chmielewski's picture

native NX "screen sharing" would be better :)

But thanks for the hint.

can NX attach to a local X session / desktop (like VNC/RDP can?)

mangoo's picture

Can NX attach to a local X session (like KDE/Gnome VNC / MS RDP?)

What I mean, is to connect from a remote computer to a local KDE/Gnome desktop.

I know it's impossible with NX 1.4, but maybe the upcoming 1.5 version has this feature?

please explain more...

pwl's picture

For technically inclined people, imagine X server technology with compression so tight that GNOME and KDE sessions run over modems with SSH encryption. Image lightening-fast thin clients that use tiny amounts of bandwidth and handle audio and video, printing and session suspension instead of termination. Imagine real virtual KVM switches without hardware. Say goodbye to SunRay servers and all the thin clients that never lived up to their promise. Think about real heterogeneous interoperability on PCs and devices that scale.

i don't understand how this is thin client - don't you still need a full host OS & desktop/laptop computer to run this ?

For the less technically inclined, imagine system administrators being able to see and operate every server in their data centers with a single keyboard, video console and mouse--without a hardwire switch and hundreds of cables.

so this will work even when the server is booting? you'll be able to change BIOS config and so on? or not ?

There are thin clients with NX built in.

David Mohring's picture

Is there a FreeNX server for Windows?

Anonymous's picture

Please excuse me if I missed the answer to this question. I read the whole story but some of it is over my head.

Using VNC I can access Windows computers from my Linux desktop. Can FreeNX do that?

xyz

FreeNX can connect to VNC/all or RDP/Windows servers

Kurt Pfeifle's picture

> Using VNC I can access Windows computers from my Linux desktop. Can FreeNX do that? <
---
Yes, it can.

However, it does not done directly. NX clients need an NX or FreeNX server that acts as a proxy. The (Free)NX proxy can then relay the NX session to a nearby VNC/everything or RDP/Windows server.

Over low bandwidth/high latency links (like a 56k baud dialup modem), this is usable and way faster than trying to directly access a remote host via vncviewer or rdesktop.

NX and FreeNX proxies/servers can run on Linux, FreeBSD and Solaris.

The different connection scenarios would be like sketched out below.

Connecting an NX client to an X11 application/desktop:

Xdisplay/NXclient <--(NX protocol)--> NXserver-proxy/X11application

The Windows NX client ships including an X server that provides the Xdisplay. The Linux/Unix NX clients use the native Xdisplay of their hosting OS.

Connecting an NX client to a VNC server:

Xdisplay/NXclient <--(NX protocol)--> NXserver-proxy/nxviewer <--(RFB protocol)--> VNCserver

The Windows NX client ships including an X server that provides the Xdisplay. The Linux/Unix NX clients use the native Xdisplay of their hosting OS. The "nxviewer" part of the NXserver-proxy is a modified and improved derivate of "vncviewer" and takes care of the "RFB <--> NX" protocol translation.

Connecting an NX client to a Windows Terminal Server:

Xdisplay/NXclient <--(NX protocol)--> NXserver-proxy/nxdesktop <--(RDP protocol)--> WindowsTerminalServer

The Windows NX client ships including an X server that provides the Xdisplay. The Linux/Unix NX clients use the native Xdisplay of their hosting OS. The "nxdesktop" part of the NXserver-proxy is a modified and improved derivate of "rdesktop" and takes care of the "RDP <--> NX" protocol translation.

Cheers,
Kurt Pfeifle
(FreeNX Developer Team,
KDE Project Contributor)

Step-by-step instructions for vnc?

Les Mikesell's picture

Are there step-by-step instructions somewhere for connecting nxclient to an existing vnc or rdp service? For example, if I have enabled the X vnc module that allows connecting to the console display with vnc, how would I use the nxclient remotely instead?

Help

MIchael Ziglar's picture

Can you provide an estimate of the lowest average cost for both 100 and 1000 end-user networks (to use thin clients in a single local area of a city or county) with access to the Internet through free WI-FI Access Points, with use of browser, word processing, email client, and VoIP software?

Thanks in Advance.

Michael J. Ziglar, Sr.
nkrumah2020@yahoo.com
(800) 792-2219 x1101

FreeNX and servers behind NAT

Starling's picture

Is it possible (e.g. using FreeNX server as a proxy) to remotly access to computer which is behind NAT (without redirected ports)?
Situation:
Client(Linux/Windows with public IP) < === > NxServer-Proxy(Linux with public IP) < === > VNCServer?(Windows with private IP)

Regards
Marcin

FreeNX over web proxy

NoogiE's picture

I have written a quick guide on how I got my FreeNX to work via a restrictive squid web proxy where I work at a university. Hope this helps someone out - and you dont need to forward any ports etc, only 1 ssh port is needed!

Check it out here -
http://www.noogies.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=14&Itemid=1

NoogiE.

Reverse tunnel was what I nee

Starling's picture

Reverse tunnel was what I needed.

connections to Terminal Server

PeterDens's picture

Kurt,

do you know how this is done License wise on the Windows Terminal server?
i guess this stays the same, as you pay per concurrent user. So the 'only' improvement over using terminal server or ICA clients is the better performance ?

Are there figures of how it relates to Citrix (ICA) connections as they are quite performant as well...

Peter

Windows Terminal Server CAL licenses....

Kurt Pfeifle's picture

Hi, Peter,

please bear with me: I am not a lawyer and not a judge. I am not too much familiar with the regulations of the Microsoft Client Access Licenses (CAL) for connecting to a Windows Terminal Server (WTS).

But I know of some places who say they only have to use seemingly one "client machine license" (for the FreeNX server to connect to the WTS) where multiple NX users connect to the FreeNX server.

Cheers,
Kurt

Is there a FreeNX server for Windows?

Anonymous's picture

No. Only a client. The client does configure for RDP and VNC if you have terminal services or VNC running on Windows.

Funny, this is like one of the first times I can remember someone making something just for Linux.

Cool!!!!

Yes, FreeNX supports fullscreen sessions (and more)

Kurt Pfeifle's picture

> Can FreeNX run fullscreen sessions too? <
----
Yes.

(And to get out of it, click the "magic pixel" on the upper right corner of your screen -- that minimizes the fullscreen window).

> (As useful as "window-ed" sessions may be -- "normal" users in government offices may be confused by them.) <
----
OTOH, window-ed sessions may be especially useful once we (KDE) has an NX client that lets you run these in a "tabbed" viewshell (possibly as a KPart for Konqueror).

The fullscreen mode is most useful for Thin Clients that run no local window manager at all -- just the NX login screen, connect and have the remote display pop up as if it was the local one.

> Can FreeNX also run single applications remotely? <
----
Yes.

However, in the current 1.4.x NX line from NoMachine, this mode is not yet quite as fast as the "full desktop" mode. Single applications windows still do not have complete roundtrip suppression for X events. And the roundtrips are the major culprits for making standard X11 remoting so slow. NX single application sessions are still faster than any other method for single application remoting (the NX compression and caching methods come to bear fully).

With the 1.5.0 release, NoMachine will introduce for the first time the "rootless nxagent" which will provide the roundtrip suppression for single application windows, and make these sessions lightning fast.

The second 1.5.0 snapshot has been released by NoMachine about 2 weeks ago.

A FreeNX 0.5 snapshot will hopefully be ready for LinuxTag, and we hope that we can support all the new exciting features NoMachine have put into their 1.5.0 snapshots. Do not miss our presentation there!

> Are the window sizes fixed or re-sizeable (mouse-dragging the borders)? <
----
Currently fixed (1.4.0 NX libraries) once the session is running. (But you can setup any odd size you want in the session setup, like 1233+916 pixels, or 806x1177 pixels [which is portrait]).

In the future (1.5.0 NX libraries), the NX sesssion windows will be resizeable on the fly, during the session runs.

> Does printing from inside the remote session to a locally attached printer (on the NX client) really work? <
----
Yes, it does.

(For all CUPS-using operating systems, like Linux, FreeBSD, Mac OS X and possibly Solaris it is especially easy and powerful...)

> Does it work across Window-Linux platform boundaries too? <
----
Yes, with the help of Samba.

> Does tunneling of sound work from the FreeNX server session to the NX client's speakers? <
----
Yes, with the help of either artsd or esd.

> Is there a browser plugin that allows me to start a session from a browser link? <
----
Yes, in the form of "moznx".

However, "moznx" reportedly does not work for some users, and needs more polishing.

Cheers,
Kurt Pfeifle
(member of the FreeNX Developer Team,
contributor to the KDE Project)

Very tough to setup

Suresh Nalluru's picture

Though I am not a novice in linux, I found it very hard to setup.
You need to get the OpenSSL/SSH server settings right.

Also need the settings/keys on the client and server to match each other.
The client from nomachine.com does not inter-operate with the server with the default settings.

Overall, I found there is lack of good documentation and user step-by-step guides (for e.g: windows clients and servers running debian).

As long as it is this tough for a reasonable linux user to set it up, I dont think anyone would dare to implement in their environment. You need super-experts to debug why things dont work..

Agreed

Chris Laprise's picture

The instructions for handling keys are very muddled, and it is especially unclear where to place the key on a Windows client.

Agreed

tadelste's picture

It seems that way depending on whose instructions you follow and which build you use. Essentially, if you use the the keys that come with the server and don't attempt to copy them to Windows, you shouldn't have a problem.

Copying keys back and forth on Linux seems to work just fine.

I'd suggest that people leave out the part abut copying kets to Wndows.

http://www.google.co.nz/search?q=debian+freenx+howto

David Mohring's picture

First result on google: How to setup FreeNX server under Debian Sarge!.

Setting up FreeNX is easier than setting up LTSP and VNC based login.

Tough setup?

tadelste's picture

Since I did not find FreeNX difficult to set up, I cannot confirm that this isn't for a reasonable Linux user. My experience is that it's easy enough for a light weight user. I also found several howto's on Google. So, I don't take exception to your comment, we just had different experiences.

Perhaps I should have mentioned that to make setup easy, use the default NX keys on Debian. The Windows clients connected without having to do anything with ssh keys.

I didn't transfer a key from the server. I just installed, added the IP address and logged in.

If you dual boot, I suggest that you don't use the same host name for your Windows and Linux machines and also try different IP's.

well

psychollek's picture

well as far as i remember you have to "emerge freenx" on gentoo and it's all you need for it to work :P - but i maight be wrong - i real dont remember :P - maby you had to do something .. ?

VNC vs. NX

Pieter Van Nuffel [aka SUCKER]'s picture

I always used some form of remote acces to my machine (which runs most of the time on my dorm): In the beginning when I still used (evil) windows XP I had RemotelyAnywhere running, which was usefull. Don't remember the speed of it though. Now I run Mandrake/Mandriva as my main desktop for a whole year already (10.0 Official and now 2005 LE), and when I asked myself which remote X acces there was, I naturally chose vnc as the obvious solution.

When reading this article I wondered how much better NX was, so I just installed it.

And DAMN!!!! It really is 90% of the speed I have when sitting in front of the computer itself! With vnc I can actually see the widgets/portions of the screen being drawn from the top to the bottom. Even the blinking KDE-start widgets. (My dorm pc has a 10 Mbit upload/download connection and the pc at home has a 3.3 Mbit down and 512 Kbit upload, so that is just fine.) But nothing like that with FreeNX!

Damn, I'm never going to touch vnc ever again. I'm almost smacking myself in the face for not trying it sooner...

Thanks for this very straighforward article, and for speeding up my remote X sessions!

Think vendor independent window to your enterprise

David Mohring's picture

The utility of FreeNX goes way beyond just a technology for remote terminal services.

1) There are client-side viewers for Linux, Solaris, Windows ( including XP ) and even MacOS/X.
2) FreeNX clients can not only operate in full screen mode, but in a window alongside normal native applications.
3) The compression used by FreeNX means that, unlike old time X11Rx and Windows terminal servers, you can deploy it on the same local networks with normal desktops that access file servers.

Don't just think terminal server. Consider FreeNX/NX technology for deploying securely isolated, vendor and platform independent, rich graphical interface connecting your enterprise systems to any and all desktops of choice. Escape from the Vendor Dependent Death Marches!

Can FreeNX run fullscreen sessions?

Anonymous's picture

Can FreeNX run fullscreen sessions too? (As useful as "window-ed" sessions may be -- "normal" users in government offices may be confused by them.)

Can FreeNX also run single applications remotely?

Are the window sizes fixed or re-sizeable (mouse-dragging the borders)?

Does printing from inside the remote session to a locally attached printer (on the NX client) really work? Does it work across Window-Linux platform boundaries too?

Does tunneling of sound work from the FreeNX server session to the NX client's speakers?

Is there a browser plugin that allows me to start a session from a browser link?

Salut,
Benoit

Can FreeNX run fullscreen sessions? Yes Yes Yes

David Mohring's picture

Can FreeNX run fullscreen sessions too? - YES

Can FreeNX also run single applications remotely? - YES, but in rootless mode the current release does not compress the session connection as well as window and fullscreen.

Are the window sizes fixed or re-sizeable ? The current version has fixed window size, the next release ( 1.5.0 ) supports X11R6 resize and render extention, and the windows will be able to be resized.

Does printing from inside the remote session to a locally attached printer (on the NX client) really work? - YES!
Does it work across Window-Linux platform boundaries too? - YES, via samba, although we have had to install ghostscript and setup RedMon on printers without decent Linux drivers.

Does tunneling of sound work from the FreeNX server session to the NX client's speakers? - YES, but remote applications need to support either GNOME's esd or KDE arts. See Sound on LTSP Terminals, for work arounds for flash etc.

Is there a browser plugin that allows me to start a session from a browser link? No, and because FreeNX allows printer and local client filesystem access, from a security standpoint, it is not a good idea. VNC offers a mini webserver with Java applet for browsers that works.

White Paper
Linux Management with Red Hat Satellite: Measuring Business Impact and ROI

Linux has become a key foundation for supporting today's rapidly growing IT environments. Linux is being used to deploy business applications and databases, trading on its reputation as a low-cost operating environment. For many IT organizations, Linux is a mainstay for deploying Web servers and has evolved from handling basic file, print, and utility workloads to running mission-critical applications and databases, physically, virtually, and in the cloud. As Linux grows in importance in terms of value to the business, managing Linux environments to high standards of service quality — availability, security, and performance — becomes an essential requirement for business success.

Learn More

Sponsored by Red Hat

White Paper
Private PaaS for the Agile Enterprise

If you already use virtualized infrastructure, you are well on your way to leveraging the power of the cloud. Virtualization offers the promise of limitless resources, but how do you manage that scalability when your DevOps team doesn’t scale? In today’s hypercompetitive markets, fast results can make a difference between leading the pack vs. obsolescence. Organizations need more benefits from cloud computing than just raw resources. They need agility, flexibility, convenience, ROI, and control.

Stackato private Platform-as-a-Service technology from ActiveState extends your private cloud infrastructure by creating a private PaaS to provide on-demand availability, flexibility, control, and ultimately, faster time-to-market for your enterprise.

Learn More

Sponsored by ActiveState