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  1. #1

    Ubuntu Amazon EC2 Remote Desktop


    I have an instance on Amazon EC2 of Ubuntu Server 13.10.

    I am trying to install a desktop environment and get remote access to it. To do this, I've tried a couple of different things.

    1) Use an ssh -x connection - Problem: Very slow indeed.
    2) Install lxde and xrdp - Problem: Takes forever to build windows and (for example) draw the desktop background.
    3) Install nomachine - Problem: NoMachine reports that there is no active display sessions.

    Does anybody have any ideas how to either fix the above, or install something relatively fast on Ubuntu on EC2?


  2. #2
    Trusted Penguin Irithori's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Hi and welcome

    linux servers are usually maintained and accessed via ssh and commandline.
    Is there a reason why you need a gui?
    You must always face the curtain with a bow.

  3. #3
    Linux Engineer docbop's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Woodshed, CA
    X window over a ssh connection is not fast plus why do you want a GUI on a server. As Irithori pointed out servers are managed from command line, some server tools/services has GUI tools, but they do it with web based interface so X servers not are necessary. If you are going to work on servers need to get used to using CLI.
    Last edited by docbop; 11-14-2013 at 08:06 PM.

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  5. #4
    Linux Enthusiast Steven_G's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Western US
    If you really want a GUI then I'd try one of the really lightweight DE's like xfce and then set it up so that the server does not boot in to an x-session to save resources. That way you can manually start the DE when you're working on the system. For remote acesss / RDP I'd try TeamViewer. It's a really nice program. It's free and it's cross platform. I set it up for my wife to use her *nix machine to remotely contorl her work doze desktop for presentations and it works like a charm. Remember, there will always be some lag when working remotely. But TeamViewer works fairly fast. IDK if it has a CLI client. If not then you'd do something like ssh in to your server, start the x-session manually and then start TeamViewer, do your work and then reboot back in to a headless session. All that is a little extra work. But if you're most comfortable in the GUI while you learn it will give you the best of both worlds: Not wasting resources on the GUI when you're not actually using it and a GUI when you need it.

  6. #5
    Thanks guys. It's actually a very specific reason for needing a GUI. Basically, we are wanting to run some performance testing tools remotely from Amazon's Cloud infrastructure so that we have some good internet stability and we can just leave it running overnight etc. without having to worry about turning off our computers/power cuts etc. I understand that this wouldn't normally be done from a Ubuntu Server machine, but it seems that this is all that Amazon offer.

    I shall give TeamViewer a go. Thanks.

  7. #6
    Does Teamviewer actually work when Linux server is headless, ie. it has no display?

    No comparison whatsoever in my opinion for a Linux solution, which is free and cross platform. I've been using NoMachine (NX) for years (just started with v 4) and have never found an alternative that can beat it (not on Linux anyway).

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