Remote Connection to Linux Machine - HOW TO?

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Remote Connection to Linux Machine - HOW TO?

Postby aSystemOverload on Sat Feb 25, 2012 1:15 pm

I've googled and been thrown too much information/different vnc clients and am very confused.

I need to be able to to connect to a Linux machine, this machine may not be on initially, so needs to be turned on manually (no monitor), and may be at a login prompt. Further more I need to interact with a full desktop, incl menus and panels etc.

I will either be connecting from a Windows or other Linux machine.
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Re: Remote Connection to Linux Machine - HOW TO?

Postby DrHu on Sat Feb 25, 2012 5:13 pm

All VNC clients require the remote computer to be ON, before they allow a remote connection to that host
--they also require a VNC server application running on that remote host
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virtual_Ne ... #Operation
    A VNC system consists of a client, a server , and a communication protocol
    * The VNC server is the program on the machine that shares its screen. The server passively allows the client to take control of it.
    * The VNC client (or viewer) is the program that watches, controls, and interacts with the server. The client controls the server.

First question is it only a VNC type connection you want
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison ... p_software
    If you do: note that when you disconnect your VNC client, it will log out from that remote host connection, and depending on the NC client you use, it may logout from that machine (remote host) entirely..

If you now decide that its is VNC you want to use, I would suggest these two programs..
http://www.tightvnc.com/
http://www.realvnc.com/products/download.html

Guide in setting up VNC (windows or Linux)..
--they are using tightvnc or realvnc
http://www.yolinux.com/TUTORIALS/VNC.html

-if there is no *.apt (Debian package ) or those programs are not in the Linux repository, you can use the alien program to convert an *.rpm (RedHat package manager) format into a Debian package format for installation, or you can use the source file, and do your own compile and install process
    Instructions for installing source files are available on the internet, ubuntu and Mint (formums)..
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Re: Remote Connection to Linux Machine - HOW TO?

Postby dwasifar on Sat Feb 25, 2012 7:45 pm

Good information from DrHu there.

I would add the following:

For you to control a desktop session via VNC, a desktop session needs to be running on the host machine. Otherwise VNC has nothing to connect to. This means that if the machine is sitting at a login prompt, you will not be able to connect to it with VNC until the login is completed and a desktop session is active.

Furthermore, in my experience, the machine at least has to THINK it has a monitor connected to successfully start a desktop session. I think this has something to do with determining the desktop resolution, but this is only a guess. There may be people who will offer solutions that don't require one, but I have never been able to start a "headless" desktop session without something connected to the monitor port. It might be a KVM switch or a switched-off monitor, but I've always had to have something.

If you need to start a machine remotely and then connect to a desktop session, the machine's network chipset must support remote start, and you will need to use that card's protocol to initiate a remote boot. Then, if the machine is configured to automatically log a particular user in without password, and remote desktop is enabled in its setup, you should be able to connect to it as soon as the desktop is up.

You will need to open ports 5800 and 5900 on your router's firewall if you are connecting over the internet. If you are looking for a VNC client, I recommend xtightvncviewer; it can be installed easily from the repos.

Out of curiosity, what do you need to do that requires a remote GUI?
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Re: Remote Connection to Linux Machine - HOW TO?

Postby Mr. Pants on Sat Feb 25, 2012 9:51 pm

where is the check box to allow remote connections in Mint 12 KDE? It was easy to allow remote connections with GNOME but I can find it in KDE for the life of me :/
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Re: Remote Connection to Linux Machine - HOW TO?

Postby aSystemOverload on Sun Mar 04, 2012 7:33 am

Dr Hu

Maybe I did not explain myself clearly enough. The machine I wish to access will often be turned off, so I will *manually* turn it on, which will boot up to a login screen. Can VNC run pre-login? If not, how do I remotely login to a session?

That is the first part of my dilemma, I will address the rest later.
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Re: Remote Connection to Linux Machine - HOW TO?

Postby det4100 on Sun Mar 04, 2012 10:30 am

I think the first problem is what you mentioned in the original post. You are trying to boot up the machine with no monitor. This is sometimes referred to as headless. I have not been able to successfully boot up any Mint versions without a monitor connected to the machine. I'm not sure the OS would get to the login screen without a monitor. I'm pretty sure it does not as I had mine set to login automatically and it never worked. Once you solve the "no monitor" problem, the rest is easy as Dr Hu explained.
If you solve the headless issue. Please post it, as I would love to get my music server to boot without a monitor. (Using Mint of course.)

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Re: Remote Connection to Linux Machine - HOW TO?

Postby aSystemOverload on Wed Apr 18, 2012 4:25 pm

Det4100

Kinda, I'm presuming that you CAN boot upto a LOGIN screen (of one type or another), and some how connect to that machine to instigate a logon. It must be possible and not via automatic login as that would be insecure in a commercial environment.

ANYONE

Can ANYONE advise me how, once a headless unit has finished it's boot-up sequence, I can connect to it (console or GUI) to instigate a login, where at that point I can VNC into the desktop.


Thaks
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Re: Remote Connection to Linux Machine - HOW TO?

Postby dwasifar on Wed Apr 18, 2012 10:51 pm

aSystemOverload wrote:Kinda, I'm presuming that you CAN boot upto a LOGIN screen (of one type or another), and some how connect to that machine to instigate a logon. It must be possible and not via automatic login as that would be insecure in a commercial environment.


You are presuming incorrectly.

aSystemOverload wrote:ANYONE

Can ANYONE advise me how, once a headless unit has finished it's boot-up sequence, I can connect to it (console or GUI) to instigate a login, where at that point I can VNC into the desktop.


YOU CANNOT.

It's been said over and over in this thread. I don't know how much clearer we can make it for you. Your headless setup will not boot to a GUI login screen, and you cannot connect to a login screen with VNC. If you login from console, you get a console session. If you login from GUI, you must login locally.

Stop beating your head against the wall with this question and take one of the alternatives already suggested to you:

1) Hook up a monitor and log in locally. If you are physically present to turn the machine on, you are physically present to execute a login. You can turn the monitor off again before you walk away.
2) Set the machine up to automatically login with a default user. You may still need a monitor connected for the machine to start the X server, even if the monitor is not turned on. If the machine is in a public environment as you say, and physically unsecured, then you shouldn't be leaving it by itself in the first place.
3) Learn how to administer the machine through a console connection, without a GUI. If you had applied the stubborn persistence you've shown here to that instead, you'd have it nailed by now.
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Re: Remote Connection to Linux Machine - HOW TO?

Postby dicktater on Sun Apr 22, 2012 12:28 am

In combination with WOL (wake on lan) NoMachine NX will let you do what you want to do. Much better than VNC, :D . Allows for resuming sessions.

http://www.nomachine.com/

Follow their instructions and you will find NoMachine NX is very easy to set up. Linux server and client are free. Windows client is free. Windows server is not free.

You should also look into the Linux console app called "screen".
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Re: Remote Connection to Linux Machine - HOW TO?

Postby kwisher on Sun Apr 22, 2012 1:03 pm

dwasifar wrote:
aSystemOverload wrote:Kinda, I'm presuming that you CAN boot upto a LOGIN screen (of one type or another), and some how connect to that machine to instigate a logon. It must be possible and not via automatic login as that would be insecure in a commercial environment.


You are presuming incorrectly.

aSystemOverload wrote:ANYONE

Can ANYONE advise me how, once a headless unit has finished it's boot-up sequence, I can connect to it (console or GUI) to instigate a login, where at that point I can VNC into the desktop.


YOU CANNOT.

It's been said over and over in this thread. I don't know how much clearer we can make it for you. Your headless setup will not boot to a GUI login screen, and you cannot connect to a login screen with VNC. If you login from console, you get a console session. If you login from GUI, you must login locally.

Stop beating your head against the wall with this question and take one of the alternatives already suggested to you:

1) Hook up a monitor and log in locally. If you are physically present to turn the machine on, you are physically present to execute a login. You can turn the monitor off again before you walk away.
2) Set the machine up to automatically login with a default user. You may still need a monitor connected for the machine to start the X server, even if the monitor is not turned on. If the machine is in a public environment as you say, and physically unsecured, then you shouldn't be leaving it by itself in the first place.
3) Learn how to administer the machine through a console connection, without a GUI. If you had applied the stubborn persistence you've shown here to that instead, you'd have it nailed by now.

I am sorry but you are incorrect. You can have a graphical login with a VNC session. I do it all the time. I use Vinagre on my home network to connect to a Mint-11 machine in my garage. When the VNC session starts, I am presented with the GUI login screen just as if I was physically at the machine. No Machine NX is a good solution.
To the OP: is this machine on your LAN or will you be connecting from the internet? If you are connecting from the internet then you will most likely have to deal with opening ports for VNC access.
The instructions suggested Windows XP or better, so I installed Linux :)
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Re: Remote Connection to Linux Machine - HOW TO?

Postby aSystemOverload on Sun Apr 22, 2012 3:06 pm

Hi Kwisher

The unit will be on the same LAN. I currently have it running Win7, but once I've tested everything out I'll stick a 'nix on it. It's headless as it's a file/media server and I don't want a monitor stuck on it.
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Re: Remote Connection to Linux Machine - HOW TO?

Postby kwisher on Sun Apr 22, 2012 4:02 pm

aSystemOverload wrote:Hi Kwisher

The unit will be on the same LAN. I currently have it running Win7, but once I've tested everything out I'll stick a 'nix on it. It's headless as it's a file/media server and I don't want a monitor stuck on it.

You might want to check out the FreeNAS distro if you are wanting a headless file/media server. After installation, you access the machine with your web browser. From what I have heard you might want to use ver.7 of FreeNAS instead of the newest ver.8. Another option would be Ubuntu Server Edition or Debian 6. Both can be installed without a GUI desktop if you are comfortable with the CLI and SSH.
The instructions suggested Windows XP or better, so I installed Linux :)
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Re: Remote Connection to Linux Machine - HOW TO?

Postby aSystemOverload on Mon Apr 23, 2012 4:53 pm

Whilst I have considered that, I want the option to install non-service type programmes, such as Wuala which I need a desktop for. So when you use Vinagre, do you need to login AT the machine the first (and every) time it powers up?
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Re: Remote Connection to Linux Machine - HOW TO?

Postby kwisher on Mon Apr 23, 2012 8:08 pm

aSystemOverload wrote:Whilst I have considered that, I want the option to install non-service type programmes, such as Wuala which I need a desktop for. So when you use Vinagre, do you need to login AT the machine the first (and every) time it powers up?

I have a monitor, keyboard & mouse connected to this machine at all times. But what I do is set it to auto login to my account and set the screensaver to lock the machine after 15 mins. The screensaver option would not be critical for a headless operation.
The instructions suggested Windows XP or better, so I installed Linux :)
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Re: Remote Connection to Linux Machine - HOW TO?

Postby dwasifar on Mon Apr 23, 2012 11:48 pm

kwisher wrote:I am sorry but you are incorrect. You can have a graphical login with a VNC session. I do it all the time. I use Vinagre on my home network to connect to a Mint-11 machine in my garage. When the VNC session starts, I am presented with the GUI login screen just as if I was physically at the machine. No Machine NX is a good solution.


You're talking about a host machine that has already been logged in locally and a VNC server session started, then later connecting to it with a VNC client. That's not what the OP wants to do. He wants to connect to the machine's initial login screen on boot, before VNC server starts, using a VNC client.

kwisher wrote:I have a monitor, keyboard & mouse connected to this machine at all times. But what I do is set it to auto login to my account and set the screensaver to lock the machine after 15 mins.


This is the point where the OP will tell you that he does not want to set the machine up for auto-login because it is going to be left unattended in public. I don't see why letting the machine log in automatically is a security risk, but leaving it logged in and walking away from it is not; but that's what he wants to do. You will also have to solve the problem for him of how to get the machine to boot headless to an X session if you start down this road. Best of luck.
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Re: Remote Connection to Linux Machine - HOW TO?

Postby kwisher on Tue Apr 24, 2012 11:02 am

dwasifar wrote:
kwisher wrote:I am sorry but you are incorrect. You can have a graphical login with a VNC session. I do it all the time. I use Vinagre on my home network to connect to a Mint-11 machine in my garage. When the VNC session starts, I am presented with the GUI login screen just as if I was physically at the machine. No Machine NX is a good solution.


You're talking about a host machine that has already been logged in locally and a VNC server session started, then later connecting to it with a VNC client. That's not what the OP wants to do. He wants to connect to the machine's initial login screen on boot, before VNC server starts, using a VNC client.

kwisher wrote:I have a monitor, keyboard & mouse connected to this machine at all times. But what I do is set it to auto login to my account and set the screensaver to lock the machine after 15 mins.


This is the point where the OP will tell you that he does not want to set the machine up for auto-login because it is going to be left unattended in public. I don't see why letting the machine log in automatically is a security risk, but leaving it logged in and walking away from it is not; but that's what he wants to do. You will also have to solve the problem for him of how to get the machine to boot headless to an X session if you start down this road. Best of luck.

The OP never stated that the machine would be available to a public setting. Even if it is, what does it matter if it is headless? After thinking back, you are correct about the GUI login with VNC. It will not work unless it is already logged in. So the OP could enable auto login and then set the screensaver to the lowest value to lock, which I believe is 1 min. In my mind this would not open any security risks in a public setting. It is not ideal but it would be the easiest solution outside of setting up a dedicated VNC server/client configuration.
The instructions suggested Windows XP or better, so I installed Linux :)
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Re: Remote Connection to Linux Machine - HOW TO?

Postby dwasifar on Tue Apr 24, 2012 10:53 pm

kwisher wrote:The OP never stated that the machine would be available to a public setting.

Yes, he did. Scroll back to his post of 04/18/2012:
I'm presuming that you CAN boot upto a LOGIN screen (of one type or another), and some how connect to that machine to instigate a logon. It must be possible and not via automatic login as that would be insecure in a commercial environment.

(emphasis mine)

kwisher wrote:Even if it is, what does it matter if it is headless?

At first I took this to mean, "Why does being headless cause additional problems?" And my answer was going to be, "Because it won't start X." But now I think you may mean, "If it is headless, why should its being physically unsecured matter?" And for the answer to that, you'll have to ask the OP, who has rigidly resisted all suggestions toward auto login. You have already suggested it twice. I wish you luck with it.

kwisher wrote:After thinking back, you are correct about the GUI login with VNC. It will not work unless it is already logged in. So the OP could enable auto login and then set the screensaver to the lowest value to lock, which I believe is 1 min. In my mind this would not open any security risks in a public setting. It is not ideal but it would be the easiest solution outside of setting up a dedicated VNC server/client configuration.


I have already suggested this to him, and so have others, but he is adamant that auto login is insecure, though leaving the machine logged in and unattended apparently is not. This makes no sense to me, but that is what he insists.

This is why I posted so emphatically to him that he cannot do what he is trying to do. He is unwilling to deviate from his initial wish list of requirements - must boot GUI headless, must be able to connect to an unlogged-in machine with VNC, must not use auto login. Within those constraints, the task is impossible. There are several very reasonable ways to accomplish his goal of managing the machine remotely - I've offered some, and now so have you - but he is unwilling to consider them.
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