Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Linux Remote Desktops: A Comparison

This is the final post in a three part series exploring Ubuntu-based remote desktop options. See posts one and two for an exploration of NoMachine and ThinLinc.

My primary motivation for testing these remote desktop solutions was my desire to find a remote desktop solution that worked as Windows Remote Desktop - in terms of speed and functionality. While Linux and Windows do have differing user paradigms - Windows being designed around a single user logon, I was looking for the ability to log on to my system both at work and at home, resuming my session from wherever I was. My work machine is behind a VPN, and I need my sessions to be responsive enough to work as if I was working on the local machine.

Productivity therefore is of primary importance to me, and closely tied to this is the latency of a connection. I find that a slow, lagging connection impairs not only my ability to work in the graphical environments I require, but also affects my desire and motivation to try to continue to work remotely. For these reasons, I've found that using NoMachine, via the FreeNx client is most suitable for my purposes - there was just too much latency within a Cendio Thinlinc connection during my testing. To be clear, your mileage may vary - the latency I experienced may be down to a specific interaction between something in my setup and Thinlinc, but during testing over a number of days, at a variety of times, under different network condition, the NoMachine sessions consistently delivered a near desktop speed experience.

I'm interested to hear about the experience of others, using either of the Linux remote desktop solutions I tested - feel free to add them in the comments below.

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