Yeah, but Windows has "Terminal Server"!

[float=right][smg id=472 type=preview][/float]Comparing all the things that Windows does to all the things that Linux does is often a bit of a misnomer. The fundamental issue here is that all core Windows components are produced by one company, hence it’s possible to define it’s features and capabilities to quite a high degree of accuracy. When looking at a Linux distribution on the other hand, not only are there many variations on “Linux”, but also the core components of Linux come from many different sources and it’s often difficult to obtain a definitive list of their features and how good they are. There are also many other non-core components that some people would deem essential, that others simply haven’t come across.

One long running Windows ‘feature’ is ‘Terminal Server’, the ability to log into your computer from a remote location and run a full graphical connection over a network link. There have been many predecessors to Terminal Server over the years (for example “PCAnywhere”) but at the end of the day, M$ have integrated a pretty competent protocol (RDP) into the heart of all their systems and when all’s said and done, it does a pretty good job.

For historical reasons (and/or reasons unbeknown to me) the Linux community seem to have adopted VNC as it’s core protocol, and indeed you will find that this is built into the Gnome desktop in an attempt to provide similar desktop sharing capabilities. Not to put too fine a point on it, compared to RDP on Windows, VNC is (IMHO) utter rubbish. 15 Years ago it would have been really ground breaking, but today, given the alternatives … Why on earth … ?!

When I say alternatives, I am of course talking about NX , which is effectively the Linux alternative to RDP and after having used both for many years, I don’t think there is any question that NX is way out in front. (i.e. the Linux solution is much better than the Windows solution!) I know people out there will say “but it’s not open source!”, and once upon a time they may’ve been right, but not recently.

NoMachine.org do indeed sell a commercial version of the NX server and client (which is cheaper than Terminal Server), however they also provide a COMPLETELY FREE 2-user version of the software (which is slightly better licensing than the free Terminal Server you get with Windows XP!) AND the source code for NX “IS” Open Source, so you can go build it yourself.

So here’s the question, why don’t developers flush VNC down the toilet and take the source code to NX and build it into distro’s by default? Not a desperately difficult concept, not one that would be particularly difficult to implement.

Note that although the NX Server is for Linux only, there are both Linux and Windows versions of the client, so it also makes for a really easy to introduce Windows users to a Linux desktop!

Or there’s LTSP (Linux Terminal Server Project) for true “thin client” terminal services.

LTSP homepage

RDP is a great feature however there are similar things in linux, how about X forwarding ? that lets you run any program you want and forward to another machine, the program then runs as if it was running on your local machine when actually it is running on the remote machine, just the GUI, keyboard and mouse part is being redirected to another machie… last time I checked RDP couldn’t do that! :slight_smile:

With X forwarding you don’t need the correct version of linux or a special license to have more than 1 connection either it is part of X and ssh and you can connect as many as the network and systems can handle.

I haven’t herad of NX server but my question is… why do we need NX server when the base technology in all linux systems can already do this?

Hi gainpace, and welcome to the forum :slight_smile:

I don’t think anyone was suggesting RDP or NX are necessary, or the only options, particularly between Linux boxes, but they are GUI options that include the FULL graphical environment of the remote PC, including Windows PC’s which don’t do SSH/X forwarding by default.

Also explaining that there are similar (and multiple) options here too, and that the choice of VNC is not the best (or only) option available :slight_smile:

Indeed, as you suggest, Linux ↔ Linux has MANY more options available than Windows … some of which are “out of the box” too.

Redmond only shows you what it wants to show you .