In a previous post, I spoke about new ebuilds for X2go client and server, a GPL remote desktop solution that’s based on NX technology, but in a different way compared to nxserver. With lots of help from Joachim Langenbach in bug #249600, I’m glad to say now that ebuilds in the NX overlay for both client and server work fine, and will probably moved to portage soon (ldap management ebuilds will probably wait a bit longer in the overlay, as I cannot test them for now).
For pros and cons, X2go does not need a special “nx” user on the server, you can use your ssh private key (as you log in directly as your real user), both client and server are GPL are not limited in number of connections, remote mounting of directories is easy (via sshfs/fuse), administration of the server can be done via kde control panel elements (including ldap accounts, if you use it). However x2go requires a running postgresql database on the server, does not support VNC/rdesktop proxying or shadow sessions, and some of the nice advanced features seem reserved to dedicated thin clients setups (like saving your session on a usb key, …).
Anyway, if you’re curious to try it, ‘layman -a nx’ and then emerge either x2goclient or x2goserver depending on which computer you are 😉
Nomachine recently released a new major version (3.3.0), which did not introduce many new features, but fixed some bugs (some keys did not work here on my french keyboard for example), and generally feels “snappier” (in my opinion of course, test and check it for yourself 😉 ). It is available in portage for both free server edition (binary only, 2 concurrent connections), and for freenx (open-source, no connections limit).
For some time an alternative client/server from 2X has been available in portage, as net-misc/nxclient-2xterminalserver and net-misc/nxserver-2xterminalserver. Based on old NX 1.5, it provided both a GPL client (missing the > 2.0.0 NX features though) and a working server close to Nomachine one. However it never really got any updates since it was made available. Upstream closed down the website, the client needs fixes for gcc 4.3 and –as-needed, does not work well with current NX servers, the server is still based on old NX code (and is probably vulnerable to some xorg security issuse), so this is last rites time for both of them. They will still be available in the NX overlay if you need them.
Open-source alternatives are availble in portage: net-misc/qtnx for client, net-misc/nxserver-freenx for server.
Now I promised to talk about newer NX systems right? A new bug report was recently opened on x2go, a “server based computing environment” which uses NX technology but is not a clone of current nxclient/nxserver. Nice thing is everything is open-source, including the client (ebuild for it already works). Now some work is needed before there is a x2goserver package in portage, but that will certainly make a nice alternative to current NX servers available. If you already use it, don’t hesitate to come and comment on the bug!
Note to myself: I really need to write some documentation on all of these one day…