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remote control via network

Posted on 2001-07-31
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2010-03-18

I am completely new to linux, but I have a sparepc that I can use, but do not have enough space for 2 monitors etc.

Is it possible to takeover a linux screen via a network, before being logged in in linux?

What I am thinking of is a pc that has no connections (no monitor, no mouse, no keyboard) except for the network, just hitting the power switch, then connect via Windows2000 to the linux via a network remote software (which?) and login in linux, of course linux will have to accept this connection at the login prompt because there is no keyboard, so no one can press ok.

Is this possible, or do I need to consider other possibilities, or has anyone done something similar with a better approach?

Any comments and feedback is greatly appreciated.

Kind regards
Question by:hellfire052497
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Expert Comment

ID: 6337900
this is possible .. but it also depends what you wanna do .. if you only want console access (this is easy and cheap ;-) ... ) .. so no gui, just a telnet/ssh connection or if you want to have the GUI of Linux on your Windows machine .. then you need an X11Client .. there are some freeware ones but usualy there not that good .. there are some good ones but they cost some money ....

Expert Comment

ID: 6337932
Decent free Telnet/SSH client:

Decent free XServers:

You won't really be taking over the session available to your keyboard/monitor if you had one.  You'll be opening another session for remote access.  Linux machines have a lot of built-in facilities to do this.

Expert Comment

ID: 6338128
If you want just to manage the console remotely, the answers above will do, telnet or SSH are good choices. (SSH is better, cause it's encrypted, telnet is transparent and if you put it on a production network, the users will be able to snoop your session)

If you want to Remote Control a Linux GUI, you probably will be satisfied with VNC:

it's multiplataform (so you can use it from Windows to Linux, from Macintosh to Novell, from some UNIXES to Windows, etc...)

hope this helps

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LVL 51

Expert Comment

ID: 6338631
BTW, is not a XServer

A free XServer is MIX95 

Expert Comment

ID: 6338646
VNC, as suggested by garisoain, is a very good choice. It even has a (somewhat slow) java client, that can be automatically downloaded when you connect to the server.
It is NOT bandwidth efficient, but that shouldn't be a problem to you as I assume you will be running on a local network.
I have used a VNC server on linux and Windows NT, and the clients on Windows 98, NT, 2000, linux and Palm. Yes, there is also a client for the Palm PDA, working in full color if your Palm supports it.
If you are going to run RedHat Linux, there are precompiled packages available, ready to install and run.

Be aware that your pc might not be able to boot without a keyboard attached, depending on your bios. It is possible to buy "keyboard dummy" plugs, that appears like a keyboard to the computer, making it possible to circumvent the limitation.
LVL 40

Expert Comment

ID: 6339261
Lots of good comments about network access to the second box, but those will only work if the box will boot and run w/o a keyboard. Some BIOS versions allow you to disable the keyboard requirement at boot, but other don't.

One this that hasn't been mentioned is the option of getting a 2 or 4 port KVM. I'm rather partial to the Belkin OmniView KVM's for Intel only boxes and the Rose units for multiplatform applications. The OmniView SE 2 port can usually be found for about $125 and the 4 port usually runs about $20 more. Cables are usually about $10 each. The nice thing about using a KVM for this is that the computers don't need to be networked, nor do they need to be running OS's or special S/W, just "push the button" and be connected to a different system.

Author Comment

ID: 6342082
Hi all,

Some good points here, What I want is to use linux in GUI, like I said I don't know much about it, so I wanna start to mess with it, and on a seperate pc so if I screw up nothing vital is lost, but space is at a premium, so no multi monitor for me ;-(. can you run resolutions up to 1600x1200 on KVM box?, Since it is only running in a private network (100Mbit), will the VNC run smooth?, and how to connect immediately at the linux logon? since i'm not logged in at that point in linux, can you do that running a script at the boot stage allowing remote connections, or how does VNC work?

Running without keyboard on the pc is not a problem, I just set the halt on no errors option in the bios, and it continues to boot in DOS, so it should work with linux also.

Ideas always welcome.
Kind regards
LVL 40

Expert Comment

ID: 6342270
A good KVM will support 1600x1200 if the cables are of reasonable length. The Belkin and Rose units that I use both handle that resolution with 5-10' cables. One thing that I didn't specifically mention is that a KVM will let you see the boot up dialog. And that's very handy if something goes wrong at boot time.

Accepted Solution

svindler earned 600 total points
ID: 6343699
VNC will not run smoothly if you are watching mpeg movies or playing graphically demanding games. In this case you are better off with a KVM. For normal development or just monitoring the status of a server etc, it should run smoothly though.

VNC can be started by the normal bootup procedure. It is NOT the input/output of the physical console that is forwarded over the network; it's more like a virtual console that is created. Therefore console messages will not be forwarded to the VNC client. If this is a requirement then again, the KVM is your choice.

A good KVM can be a bit pricey, at least compared to VNC, which is free.

Expert Comment

ID: 6344588

As said above, a KVM device is probably the best option. Just in case you don't know what that is, it stands for 'keyboard, video, mouse' and is simply a hardware switching device that enables you to share a single keyboard video and mouse between 2 or more PCs/Servers. All you need is the KVM itself and, in your case two sets of compatible KVM cables. You plus your actual keyboard video and mouse into the KVM device and connect the special cables between the KVM and each PC. Then, in operation, you simply press a button to toggle through your connected systems. The only problem is the KVM and cables costs money!

Hope this explains the KVM approach a bit clearer. See for one manufacturer's KVMs.


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