Looking for options: Secure remote access from MacBook to Linux

S Connelly
S Connelly used Ask the Experts™
I’m looking for a secure way to Remote Desktop from a MacBook to the Linux (Ubuntu) GUI.

Currently, we are using NoMachine, but we are encountering significant problems with crashed Ubuntu sessions, often to the point where someone needs to physically access the hardware to reset it.

I’ve invested using VNC but our security team have concerns about it.

Please don’t suggest SSH :)  We already use this method, but occasionally it’s also important to get access to the Ubuntu GUI.

The tool must be secure, ideally low cost or free, and must be peer to peer (no third party go-between like TeamViewer).

Thank you.
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Christian KAZADiIT Support Level 2


Have you try XRDP


then you can download Microsoft Remote Desktop for windows

All free...

Good luck
David FavorFractional CTO
Distinguished Expert 2018

You can also use ssh + X11 to directly run an Ubuntu Desktop from your Mac.
S ConnellyTechnical Writer


Thanks Christian. I looked into XRDP about a year ago. We ran into a bug with rendering fonts. But I’ll look at it again.

Thanks David. But the reason why we remote into Ubuntu boxes is because our MacBooks are under-powered (CPU and memory).
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You can also try FreeNX https://sourceforge.net/projects/freenx.berlios/

It's the open source version of NoMachine.  I like it a little better than XRDP.
David FavorFractional CTO
Distinguished Expert 2018

If you're using low power (old/slow CPUs) then likely all GUI based systems will either be very slow or simply not work.

The work around for this situation is to just use ssh.

Most server work will run a GUI + a terminal program with a shell, so using ssh seems best in your case.
S ConnellyTechnical Writer


Thanks David and serialband.

> FreeNX

Yes, that was an option. It might have eliminated the problem.

> Use SSH

Yes, 80% SSH is used because the GUI is unnecessary most of the time. However, it's the times where use cases call for a GUI that some devs ran into a problem. :(

However, we solved the problem. It turned out that the crashed sessions only occurred with the newer version of NoMachine. Once we reinstalled with an older version (v6.8.1), the crashed sessions are no longer occurring. :)

Thanks to everyone. Your suggestions are appreciated. :)
Technical Writer
The solution was to downgrade Nomachine.

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