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Aaarg! VNC? FreeNX? SSH and Xnest?

Vincent Danen

December 10, 2005

I don't know if I'm an idiot and just can't make it work, but I've been farting around for most of the day trying to get the desktop of one Linux box to show up on my OS X box so that I can move the Linux box into my rack and run it headless, but still get to my vmware stuff (moves one monitor and box out of my main office). I recall doing VNC in the past with 10.1 and LE2005 and it working great, and that was my first move... but I'll be danged if I could make it work with 2006/x86_64. My VNC clients on OS X (all three that I tried) wouldn't connect to the machine... all of them were timing out. So then I tried installing FreeNX from contribs, got that setup, and was using the NX client from www.nomachine.com.. couldn't make that work either. I did try getting the NX client running on Windows, and couldn't make it connect either (I didn't try running VNC on Windows, but I don't really care if any of this works on Windows anyways since my primary desktop is running OS X). I even downloaded the demo version of the commercial NX server and couldn't even get that to work on the stinking machine.

So finally I just did an Xnest call to get my desktop up and running over SSH. Seemed to work fantastic... gdm came up after I loosened some security I normally tighten, vmware came up, I could get into the vmware machines and type fine... but the stupid "e" key was acting like a backspace key! WTF?!? Ummm... unfortunately, my last name has an "e" in it so it's a little difficult to login (I had to use a gdm theme with a chooser just to get into the bloody desktop). So even though, with that, I could log into my desktop, fire up vmware, and use it, when I tried to switch vc's in a vmware machine and log in, I wasn't able to because I couldn't type the letter "e".

I don't know if I'm having a really stupid day today, or if something in my 2006/x86_64 install is severely hooped (or maybe in the case of the Xnest/VNC stuff it's all the OS X VNC clients/X server that's hooped... will try with my other 2006/x86_64 install tomorrow), but I am getting severely annoyed.

FreeNX sure sounds cool, but it sure would be cooler if I could actually get it to work. Wierd and cryptic errors, even with debug logging the server doesn't tell me much and the client seems to think the server is booting it, but the server doesn't indicate why. Aaaargh! Could I possibly find a better way to waste a day?!?

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