In the previous article, we introduced the X Window system and discussed different X Window remote desktop options. In this article, I will cover installation of the NoMachine remote desktop server and the various server options.
To set up the NoMachine server, download and install it whatever method is appropriate for your Linux distribution. As far as I know, it is not in any of the repos. To install the NoMachine server under Linux Mint, I downloaded NoMachine for Debian Linux and used the Debian package installer to install it:
sudo dpkg -i nomachine.188.8.131.52.i386.deb
After a few minutes, the NoMachine server was installed and ready to use.Depending on the distribution you are using, the installation may be more involved. Most of the major distributions should have packages available that make the installation relatively painless.
Configuring the NoMachine Server
Once it is installed, you can launch the NoMachine server (on Linux Mint, it can be found in the Internet program group). The NoMachine server interface has two tabs: one called “Connected users” and a second for “Active transfers“. There is also a “Connections” option to toggle allowing connections. There is also a button called “Connection preferences“.
In “Connection preferences”, there are six separate tabs: “Services“, “Security“, “Devices“, “Transfers“, “Performance“, and “Updates“. “Services” lists the network services running and allows you to configure the services. In this case, we are running the NX service on port 4000. There are two other options: “Start automatic services at startup“, which causes services marked as automatic to be started when the machine starts. “Advertise this computer on the network” causes NoMachine to broadcast the required information to let other computers discover it on the local network.
The next tab is “Security Preferences“. There are three options here: “Require permission to let remote users connect“, which if selected requires the local user to accept the connection before the remote user can connect to the desktop. The second is “Require permission to let the remote users interact with the desktop“, which if selected causes the users to connect in view-only mode. The third option is “Hide the NoMachine icon in system tray“; if this is selected, the NoMachine menu won’t be accessible in normal conditions, but notifications will be still displayed when somebody connects.
The “Devices” tab controls what devices are made available to the remote user. Disks, printers, USB devices, smart card readers, and network ports are selected by default. There is also an “Enable audio streaming and microphone forwarding” check box which is selected by default. The “Transfers” tab controls transfer preferences. Here you can allow or deny the uploading of files by remote users, and allow or deny the downloading of files. You can also disallow files bigger than a certain size for both uploads and downloads, and set the directory to which files are saved.
The “Performance” tab controls system performance and has four options. “Use a specific display encoding” allows the user to select from a dropdown list of encoding algorithms, including VP8, MJPEG and H264. “Request a specific framerate” allows the user to select a framerate from a dropdown list (a higher frame rate uses more processing power). “Use acceleration for display processing” uses the GPU and accelerated graphics (when available) for better performance. “Use lightweight mode in virtual sessions” causes virtual sessions to only use the X protocol compression, which may require less bandwidth and less computing resources.
The final tab is “Update“, which controls update preferences. There is an “Automatically check for updates” check box, as well as a button to check for updates immediately. This tab also includes information about the product, version number and platform.
Now that we have covered server configuration, in the next article we will cover accessing the system remotely using NoMachine.