12 Best Tools to Connect Linux Remote Desktop

best tools access Linux remote desktop

A remote desktop is a software that allows a computer system’s desktop environment to be run by another computer system. Remote desktop environments are used in organizations where applications are installed on a central server instead of every individual computer. These applications can be accessed remotely by employees which makes troubleshooting and maintenance easier. Using a remote desktop environment, one doesn’t have to sit in front of another system to operate it. Some of the popular remote desktop protocols are RFB (VNC is based on), NX technology (NX), RDP, X11, and ARD.

In this article, I will show you a list of software applications to access remote Linux desktop from a client computer. Most of these tools work on the server-client model.

1. TeamViewer

Teamviewer is used a lot by travelers and the people who have to work with lots of remote desktops. It allows connecting to multiple computers that can be navigated by switching tabs.

It can be downloaded from the official website. Once installed we can open it from search menu and a screen like this will appear:

teamviewer - remote desktop connection

In the Insert Partner ID field, the other computer’s ID can be inserted and then it will ask for a password. On entering the password correctly, you will be connected and you can start using the system on other end.

Pros:

  • Easy and fast remote access.
  • Connecting at a good frame rate which causes little to no lag.
  • Not a high bandwidth consumer.
  • Fast and uninterrupted file transfers.
  • Allows the remote user to see everything that is happening on their device.

Cons:

  • If the bandwidth is below average, it will start lagging
  • Do allow both users to control desktop at the same time
  • Options to record are available but not that good enough for its standards.
  • Connectivity issues when the system has a pending update.
  • Uses their own servers as a bridge to connect clients.

2. Remmina

Remmina is the default remote desktop client for Linux systems. Remmina is in the package repositories for Debian, Ubuntu, and other Linux Distros.

It can be opened by typing 'remmina' in the terminal. On opening a screen like this will appear:

remmina rdp

Enter the IP of the other system in front of protocol, in this case its '10.0.0.251'.

remmina connect with IP

Enter the credentials required and you are ready to use the other system without sitting in front of it.

Pros:

  • Easy to use interface
  • Supports multiple protocols i.e rdp, ssh, udp etc.
  • For managing the bandwidth, quality of the connection can be adjusted accordingly.
  • Neatly organized interface i.e connections are organized in groups and labels.

Cons:

  • It doesn’t have server features.

3. TightVNC

TightVNC is a remote desktop application used to control and access a  system far off by connecting to it remotely. It can be configured using the following commands.

First of all download the package using the following command:

$ sudo apt install tightvncserver

Now create a VNC session and specify a password of 6-8 characters for it.

$ vncserver

Give executable permissions to the vnc startup script located in the vnc folder at home directory:

$ chmod +x /home/.vnc./xstartup

Install a desktop environment i.e xfce4 using the following command:

$ sudo apt install xfce4

On a client system, use the following command to connect to this system:

$ xtightvncviewer IPaddress:5901

Pros:

  • Easy to connect and configure
  • Good in a situation where the other user assistance isn’t needed.
  • Runs in background without causing any disturbance to the user.

Cons:

  • Control is slow with a lot of lag.
  • Not the best one for two users with different operating systems.
  • In case the connection is lost, set up must be done manually from start.

4. TigerVNC

For graphical desktop sharing, TigerVNC is used. In order to configure and connect using TigerVNC follow the steps below:

First of all, install a desktop environment i.e xfce4 using the following command:

$ sudo apt install xfce4

Now install TigerVNC server and its dependencies.

$ sudo apt install tigervnc-standalone-server tigervnc-common

Create the configuration file using vncserver command and specify the password between 6-8 characters:

vncserver command on tigervnc

Kill all the VNCserver sessions using the following command:

$ vncserver kill :*

Give executable permissions to the vnc startup script located in the vnc folder at home directory:

$ chmod +x /home/.vnc./xstartup

On the client system, use ssh to bind to port 5901 of remote system to port 5901 on client system using the following command:

$ ssh -L 5901:localhost:5901 @

This process is called SSH tunneling.

Now let the ssh tunnel session run and in a new terminal use vnc viewer to connect to other system.

$ vncviewer localhost:5901

vncviewer localhost

Enter the password and you will be connected to other system using TigerVNC.

Pros:

  • Secure connection.
  • Provides connection to other operating systems i.e not only Linux operating systems.
  • Interface is good and simple

Cons:

  • Does Not provide scaling of a screen in case of multiple windows.
  • Difficult to set up in case a firewall is present.

5. XRDP

Xrdp is used to graphically control another computer system. It uses RDP protocol for this. To install XRDP server, use the following command:

ubuntu@ubuntu :~$ sudo apt install xrdp

Now open the XRDP client application from the other system and enter the ip address of this system.

xrdp client application

Click on connect and it will ask for username and password.

xrdp login with username and password

Enter the credentials and you are good to go.

Pros:

  • Already built-in windows systems.
  • Easy to set up.

Cons:

  • Locking the remote screen does not allow the user to do anything or interfere in this system.
  • One machine at a time

6. Rdesktop

Rdesktop is a remote desktop client used for connecting to the windows remote desktop services. Rdesktop is the most used rdp client for over the years. To connect to a windows machine’s remote desktop, open the terminal and type the following command:

$ rdesktop

rdesktop

And you will be able to control other windows machine’s desktop environment from your computer system.

Pros:

  • Similar look and layout of any windows system
  • Easy configuration
  • Reliable
  • Low memory and resource usage

Cons:

  • Laggy connection due to no maintenance and updates
  • It does not support multiple screens like TeamViewer

7. RealVNC

RealVNC is a company providing remote access software consisting of a VNC client and a VNC server to connect to other systems remotely, using the VNC protocol.

It can be downloaded from the official website.

To run VNC server, use the following command:

$ vncserver :n

run vnc server

Where n is session number, 1 in case nothing is specified, Now go to the other machine’s web browser and go to http://:m

Where m=n+5900. This will ask for the password.

vnc login

On entering the correct password, the console will start.

Pros:

  • Quality of the connections can be varied according to connection speed.
  • Fast and efficient
  • Good security system

Cons:

  • Difficult to set up
  • Incase of multiple screens, accessing the other screen is time-consuming.

8. Nomachine

Nomachine is the fastest remote client application used to access and control a computer system anywhere in the world. It works on NX technology (NX) a proprietary protocol.

It can be downloaded from the Nomachine’s official website.

After downloading, open the application and click on create a new connection and select the protocol you want to use, the default is NX on port 2000.

new connection

Type the server address and specify the port selected.

type server address and port

Enter the login method (system login or specify it specifically) and save the connection.

choose the login method

For connecting after the connection is established, click on the connection name and enter the credentials.

enter username and password

Pros:

  • Suspendable sessions even help in leaving jobs running.
  • Resolution can be adjusted according to the connection speed.
  • Extremely fast.
  • A great set of packages that can be set up according to one’s needs.
  • Audio can be shared too.

Cons:

  • Limited features on the web version.
  • No grouping tools which makes IT work a bit tedious.

9. Anydesk

Anydesk is a secure remote desktop application used to access some other system and perform tasks on it without physically sitting in front of that system.

It can be downloaded from its official website.

Once the download is complete, open the application and insert Anydesk id of the computer you wanna control. The other person will get the following screen on display.

anydesk

On accepting, you can control their desktop.

anydesk desktop connected

Pros:

  • Easy to install and set up.
  • Easy file sharing and smooth connection.
  • Screening quality is good.

Cons:

  • It lags sometimes.
  • Auto adjustment of screen resolution won’t work properly.

10. Xpra

Xpra is run on a remote client to direct any machine’s existing state to another system without losing its state. Xpra is used to connect to an existing desktop session on another system. To install Xpra use the following command :

$ sudo apt install xpra

Enter the following command on the machine you want to connect:

$ xpra start --start=xterm

Now enter the following command on your own machine to connect to it :

$ xpra start ssh:@:100 --start=xterm

This will do the work.

Pros:

  • Fast connection
  • Easy to set up

Cons:

  • Sessions could crash due to lack of stability.

11. X2Go

X2Go is used to access a remote graphical desktop and perform tasks on it even over a low bandwidth connection, it uses NX protocol as default. X2Go can be installed using the following command:

$ sudo apt install X2Go

Open X2Go, go to the sessions tab and fill out the given fields.

x2go sessions tab

Click Ok when it's done.

x2go client

To connect to a session, enter login credentials and you can start accessing desktop.

Pros:

  • Easy to set up.
  • Provides more than 2 connections at a time.
  • Good for all types of connections.

Cons:

  • Port forwarding is a must in order to access it from a web browser.

12. Dayon

Dayon is a simple remote desktop software or platform used for accessing and controlling a remote desktop.

It can be downloaded from its official website.

To access a PC using Dayon, open Dayon and click the Play button. It means that it is waiting for other system to connect. Now open dayon from the other system and enter the IP address and port number of this system, this will connect.

Dayson

Use Toggle Remote Control option to control the other screen.

Pros:

  • Minimal installation
  • Uses very low bandwidth

Cons:

  • Black and white screen
  • Require patches and need to improve few glitches.

Conclusion

Remote Desktop Softwares provide the ability to connect to a desktop far away from your personal computer. This will allow the user to control the system, access and edit files in it, use its applications and to perform many other different tasks as sitting in front of that computer system, which helps everyday people and employees of organizations in great deal.

Bobbin Zachariah 12:01 pm

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