Remote Desktop Linux Windows

Remote Desktop Linux Windows
Image by Goumbik from Pixabay

To remotely control my Windows machines, I always prefer to use RDP (Remote Desktop Protocol) as it performs much nicer than VNC (Virtual Network Computing). VNC has this streak of “JPEG” quality and slow behavior, whereas RDP is fast and crystal clear.

RDP is however a proprietary protocol from Microsoft. So how can we use RDP to control our Ubuntu box remotely?

This is where xRDP comes in play, an open source remote desktop protocol (RDP) server. It actually runs VNC protocol over RDP as far as I understand, yet if behaves much better than VNC by itself (possibly because of the used desktop manager). Since Ubuntu 12.10 (if I’m not mistaken), xRDP doesn’t seem to work with the Ubuntu desktop anymore … unless you use an alternative desktop manager. This seems related to 3D acceleration and nobody seems to care (since 2011, according to bug reports).

Note : if you really need Copy/Paste functionality between the two machines, then please use Ubuntu’s default installed “Desktop Sharing” instead (MacOS X users read this forum post).

Desktop Manager

Since the current desktop manager of Ubuntu (Unity which runs on Gnome) no longer seems to work with xRDP, an alternative desktop manager needs to be installed.

Note : A light weight desktop manager helps making a remote desktop connection much more enjoyable.

Installing xRDP and XFCE

Installing xRDP and XFCE is pretty easy, once you know what to do …

Just make sure you have an Internet connection before you start.

Step 1 – Install xRDP

We will use sudo and apt-get to update your system and install xRDP. Keep in mind that sudo will ask for your admin password.

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install xrdp

Step 2 – Install XFCE4

Again we will use sudo and apt-get:

sudo apt-get install xfce4

Optional, recommended by Neal, install XFCE4 terminal and 2 icons sets:

1 5 # Install XFCE4 terminal (way better than xterm)
sudo apt-get install xfce4-terminal# Install icon sets