FreeNX 0.7 in portage, Etoile 0.2 (almost) in the gnustep overlay

For the (free as in speech) remote desktop enthusiasts, nxserver-freenx-0.7.0 is now in portage. What’s new in it? Well, most patches from 0.6.0 ebuild were merged upstream, a few other bugs were fixed, and it has much better printing support (mostly untested by me, though, this requires a printer…). A patch submitted to the freenx mailing list by google folks also allows better font display (older versions displayed smaller fonts than in the commercial NX servers). One last thing, those with USE=xcb should have a working freenx again 🙂

If you wonder about it, no freenx 0.7 does not use the new NX 3.0 features. However a full rewrite is under way, with modular design, NX 3.0 support, …

GNUstep users now… The gnustep overlay now holds an (almost complete) series of packages for Etoile 0.2. Run emerge etoile and remember to do as the emerge output says 😉

Also remember that:
1. this is still a 0.2 version, do not expect macosx-on-linux (that said, the work already done is really impressive)
2. the ebuilds are still Work-In-Progress, they will probably change some more before the ebuilds work fine. As usual, feedback is welcome!

OK, next thing on my TODO list now: expat upgrade on my server!

End of holidays, NX updates

OK holidays are finished, let’s get back to (Gentoo) work!

NoMachine was pretty active these past weeks, fixing many bugs in NX 3.0 , that some NX users have or may have encountered:

  • users with USE=xcb, no more /etc/hosts cheat needed! The free edition server now works fine on them
  • with XDM, one could not open any new window after disconnecting and reconnecting the session
  • also a potential security issue was fixed in nxnode, please update to nxnode-3.0.0-r3

Freenx 0.7 was also released, I’ll get it into portage soon. Don’t expect the new features as in NX 3.0, this version still uses NX 2.1 libraries

And now back to clean up all the unread emails that tried to fill my poor inbox 😉

NX 3.0 is out!

The Nomachine folks released a new major version of NX, highlights include (shamelessly taken from the release announcement):

  • Desktop sharing

NX 3.0.0 gives remote access to the local display of the Unix workstation where the server is installed, meaning that users and system administrators can now get quick access to all the computer’s resources and remotely control any NX-enabled PC over the Internet.

  • Session shadowing

Multiple users can now connect to a NX session at the same time, show and share files, demonstrate software and presentations, even chat with the other users on the server. Session shadowing is supported for all remote desktop protocols, including RDP (Windows Terminal Server) and VNC

  • Full support for the x86_64 architecture
  • Screen scaling capabilities

NX is now able to scale the content of the frame-buffer, to offer thumbnails of the remote desktop or to fit the desktop in a smaller screen.

  • Dynamic reordering of the screen updates

Based on the available bandwidth and the current level of congestion, NX will defer the most bandwidth-consuming operations to give precedence to interactivity. With browsers and office applications, for example, NX will reorder the screen updates to show first the textual output. With videos and games, NX will drop the intermediate frames,similarly to the way a media player would do in the same conditions, if the bandwidth is not sufficient to keep the frame rate of the requesting application.

  • Greatly reduced session reconnection times

Special attention was paid to ensuring that sessions can be migrated from a computer to another in literally no time. As an example, the time for reconnecting a GNOME session through a modem link went from the 2-3 minutes, required with the 2.x.x code-base, to 15 seconds.

  • Bug fixes, no more need for compatibility libstdc++

nxserver-freeedition is now bumped in portage, enjoy and test

As for freenx, the new features will need to be added, so if you want them, please send a mail to frenx mailing list or directly to Fabian Franz (the freenx developer) to motivate him 😉 Read Fabian’s post and tell him “thanks!”

GNUstep-interested people, you’re not forgotten, the overlay heavy work is now mostly done, we’re in bug-fixing mode now. Etoile should soon release its 0.2 version (yes yes it will be added in the overlay after gnustep in gentoo is fixed)

Summing up NX and GNUstep work

This post was quick to write, as it’s a cut-and-paste of a mail I just sent to gentoo-dev mailing list 😉
But I think it sums up nicely both the NX packages updates, and the undergoing work in the gnustep overlay, so here it is:

On the NX servers side:

  • servers based on NX 2.1 code are now in portage, including the binary free edition from Nomachine (the NX developers), and freenx 0.6
  • both of these servers now work on ~amd64 (multilib only though)
  • 2x terminal server and client are now in portage: GPL (even the NX client) and based on Nomachine’s 1.5 code base
  • 6 (old) packages were removed from the tree, replaced by net-misc/nx
  • NX overlay provides a native 64-bit nx/freenx for the adventurous
  • bugzilla NX bugs count is down to 3 🙂

With fellow dev grobian, I’ve also started to get GNUstep in Gentoo back in shape (i.e clean, easy to use, up to date, …). You can check the progress in the new gnustep overlay:

Improvements include:

  • support for new gnustep-make 2.0
  • heavy rewrite of the gnustep eclasses and base ebuilds
  • less polluting of the user profile (no more need to source exernal scripts that tinker with the linker path)
  • easier-to-write ebuilds
  • version bumps everywhere (and a few new packages, as a promising-looking cairo backend)
  • under-the-hood fixes and enhancements here and there

2X terminal server

Now that freenx and NoMachine’s free edition are in portage and working quite well, I’ve been working on getting 2X terminal server (and client) in portage. Those using the NX overlay may have already tried it 😉 The TODO list for it is now almost empty, so you should see it appear in your favourite /usr/portage soon.

It’s always nice to have upstream around on IRC when you work on new packages 🙂 You can thank 2X, the source tarballs are much smaller now. The client works on both (native) amd64 and x86, sadly the server only works on x86 for now (well in fact it’s only nxagent, but as it’s a critical part…)

On a side note, I bumped net-misc/freenet6, one of the IPv6 tunnel brokers. If you want to see the dancing kame or participate in the great IPv6 experiment (if this one helps IPv6 deploiement, I may start feeling depressed about humanity though)

NoMachine NX server free edition

Besides all the professional NX servers for enteprises, NoMachine also offers a free (as in beer) server, which offers most of the features available in the other servers (with a maximum of 2 simultaneous connections). If you’d like to discover how NoMachine’s servers work or are configured, give it a try! You may find the fonts to have a slightly different look compared to freenx.

Now that their latest maintenance release fixed a QA problem in the tarballs, ebuilds for this server will get into portage soon (net-misc/nxnode and net-misc/nxserver-freeedition, already available in the NX overlay). They will be available for x86 and multilib-amd64

Note for people who already have it installed: if you encounter license problems, the quickiest way is to remove your /usr/NX folder, and reinstall it entirely. Despite being free, this server still needs a license file, which may get clobbered by previous installs

Updated NX ebuilds now in portage

As promised, with your next “emerge –sync”, you’ll get:

  • latest nxclient 2.1 release (with desktop entries and pixmaps)
  • bumped NX 2.1 components (remote desktop looks even nicer/faster with tem)
  • freenx 0.6 release (NX 2.1 compatibility, closes some bugs)
  • last but not least: amd64 support (for multilib profiles) for all of these ebuilds!

These allowed me to clean up the open NX bugs list in bugzilla 🙂

Also, if you are still using split NX components (ie net-misc/nxcomp, net-misc/nxssh, …), these will be removed soon (and are not used by NX server ebuilds anymore): the “new” package to use is net-misc/nx, which regroups all NX components (and prevents some bugs too!)

For people waiting for NoMachine’s free edition server ebuilds, they stay in the NX overlay for now (QA issue, NoMachine is working on it).