I have ssh, apache running on a ubuntu 9.04 home server and can access from any network connection. However, I want to be able to go onto the linux server (as I can to Windows servers) as a terminal services client; run programs on the server, check e-mails, browse, etc, be able to modify and save files, etc.

Using ssh I cannot run gui's from Desktop, for example.
Using sfpt I can access gui folders and files but get a "can't execute from remote location" error message.

I am sure I have the LAMP servers setup properly but am now confused with samba, vnc, and several other possibilities.

My questions are:

1. is there a decent, plainly written, straightforward "for dummies" book or online resouirce for linux server setups; the forums are arcane and quite often outdated information as distros change and evolve.

2. for the "terminal services" (Windows server standard setup) functions I am seeking, is there a linux equivalent? If so, what is it and how do I set it up; again plain English instruction without a lot of terminal coding would be nice.

3. I managed to get X11 authority and X11 forwarding sorted out; more by trial and error and chance than guided instruction or skill; this is very time consuming and ultimately unsatisfying as I still haven't the functionality I seek; any live help or e-mail guidance from a linux server guru (or at least someone more experienced than am I) would be greatly appreciated and welcomed.

Tor Fosnaes
Ubuntu'ing on the eastern edge of the western North Atlantic; not quite far enough away from Windows, yet.

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I have to wonder what you are actually trying to accomplish as your end goal. Using a GUI on a server is generally a bad idea since it increases your attack surface considerably, but may be justified in an intranet environment where 'better' management tools offset the extra risk.

As to your problems.
1. The 'bible' books by Chris Negus are okay, they cover most of the common server functions without trying to baffle you.
[EDIT: you might want to download the free RUTE book, a google will find it in many places]

2. VNC (or perhaps nomachine) is the closest you will find for terminal services, if you just want remote desktop access to the server, then most modern distros (including ubuntu if you install as a desktop) support a 'remote desktop' in their desktop settings.

3. ssh -X user@server
is a better option generally since you don't need to setup the forwarding or authority and the connection is securely forwarded.

[Added:If you just need easier admin of servers, there are many web based control panels, the most versatile probably being webmin, which has plugins for most server apps and usermanagement, although for hosting perhaps something like ISPconfig might be better.]

Tks for reference materials; I will find what I can.

I want to be able to go to my home server and run apps (OpenOffice; Firefox; Thunderbird; GIMP; etc. to modify, store, and distribute files at the server. I do this at work from home in a linux to Windows 200? server using VPN and TSC.

I have no interest in remote server administration (all that mumbo jumbo about who and why and what is trying to access the server, etc.) nor am I worried too much about the "attack surface" implication; isn't that what the public/private key is supposed to solve?

Everything connects and works to date; ssh and web server; sftp gives server folder access and can open and edit a file but won't save them (double click a desktop app returns a "Can't execute a remote command for security reasons" error message); apt-get or synaptic will pretend to install but actually doesn't (there is no error message).

Ideally I'd like to connect to the server using something (I have a VNC viewer installed on the laptop, as well as NX from nomachine but NX is NOT yet installed on the server becasue I can't get to remotely isntall anything on the server yet) and get the server log-in screen; then a user can log onto the server, run it like a regular computer, and log out again.

Thanks for any advice.

You install stuff remotely using ssh and apt-get/aptitude, no gui required, just make sure you prefix the commands with sudo though, since both apps require root privileges.

TBH, I would say that if you just want to use firefox, OpenOffice and similar apps, then remote X might be enough if your connection speed isn't a problem.

This can be used like:

ssh -X user@server <command>

where command could be firefox or openoffice or anything else, the app would then appear on the X display of your client Linux machine (or windows machine if you have something like cygwin+X or Xwin32 installed)

You may find response a little slow, nomachine gets around this fairly well, since it compresses raw X, rdp or vnc connections.

If you want a full terminal server emulation, so you can connect and then see a normal login screen, you are probably going to want to use something like vncserver and XDMCP.
http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=795036 or http://news.softpedia.com/news/Setting-Up-a-VNC-Server-with-Session-Resume-Support-52875.shtml may shed some light on it.

When I said 'attack surface' what I mean is that the more that is installed (and X and all the bells and whistles that go with it are a large install) the greater the risk that a bug in any part of it could allow a compromise. The public/private key isn't a total solution, since that only solves the problem of automated bruteforce attacks for ssh. The keys themselves maybe insecure (see the debian openssl bug recently) or there may be bugs in sshd or any other server process (anything that allows remote machines to connect to it).

Ah, yes I understand.
I tried several times (as root) on the server to install stuff using apt-get; thing would go grey and work for a while but when I got directly on the server at home today I found the stuff was NOT installed.

Put nomachine nx lient/server and other thing on server; went back to my laptop and using the IP (not the URL because I am on the same side as the router here at home) got on quick as a wink and have full desktop from server just like VPN and TSC(like RDP) desktop from linux to a Windows server. And it is pretty fast compared to sftp and ssh and the gui environment resulting from the ssh -X user@server.name.com appcommand use. I only hope it works from connections out side the router.


Now that I have the remote access to the server, security and so on will be easily configured using webmin and gconfig [?] built into ubuntu. I will watch for a while to see if there are "attacks" before I get too involved.

Thanks for the replies and help and advice, it took a while to find the right forum and the right respondent. And, extol the use of Nomachine NX, it is the best linux connector I have found so far; now I have to remove all the others I tried unsuccessfully or unsatisfactorily (including VNC Viewer for which I paid money but which never worked).

i want to connect ubuntu pc with window pc so what can i do to perform this action safely?

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