Set up Linux box as a remote desktop

Q It is possible to use a Linux box to run a remote desktop hosted on my company's server? I often work from home by connecting to their IP address, logging on to Windows, then running an application. As I understand it, all the processing is carried out on the remote (Windows 2003) server, and my desktop is basically just painting a screen image and sending off key presses to be interpreted. This sounds to me like something that should be possible from a Linux machine. I have tried searching for a Wine application that would do the trick, but I can't find anything. Can you help me? I could then junk Windows and start cooking!

A You do not need Wine for this, because there are native remote desktop clients (and servers) for Linux. You have a choice of at least one command line program and two graphical clients, and it's highly likely that your distro includes at least one of these, so you may even have it installed already. The command line program is rdesktop (http://rdesktop. sourceforge.net) and you run it like so rdesktop my.remote.server giving it either a domain name or IP address to which it should connect. You may need to add some options, such as -u followed by the username to connect with, or -s and the name of the application you wish to run.

For a more graphical approach, try grdesktop (www.nongnu.org/grdesktop), a GTK front-end to rdesktop. This provides exactly the same options as rdesktop but with a GUI to set and save your preferred settings. If you use the KDE desktop, you probably already have a remote desktop client installed - krdc. This is usually started from the Internet section of the KDE menu and could be labelled 'Krdc' or 'Remote Desktop Client' depending on whether you have KDE set to display program names or descriptions in the menu. Either way, just start this, give the address of the computer to connect with and it should connect.

As with the command line client, the graphical clients may need some extra options to make the connection, but one advantage of the graphical programs is that they remember these for the next session. All of this assumes that the server is running the Windows Remote Desktop software, which is most likely as it is included with Windows Server 2003. The alternative is that it uses VNC, in which case you should install TightVNC (www.tightvnc.com) and run that. This is not an issue if you are using KDE as krdc handles remote desktop and VNC connections from the same program.

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