I made a reference to No Machine in a previous post so I thought I let you know how to install it and why, starting with the latter.

I have already described one method of connecting remotely to your server (using VNC), No Machine offers an alternative. It has a few distinct advantages over VNC which is why I actually prefer it.

The most notable feature is that NX is much faster than VNC. It responds much faster to mouse movements and keyboard entries. This in itself is all the reasons I need to use NX, however there is more.

When you connect to your server using NX, you do not have to connect to an existing session. By default, it will start a completely new session and you can even choose whether you want to use GNOME or KDE for that session, regardless of what you have running on your server already. Unlike with VNC, you do not take over the session on the server and if somebody should be sitting at that server, he can continue to work independent of you, in fact he wouldn't even know you were connected. You cannot do that with VNC.

Another nice feature is that because you have a new session, you do not have to use the same screen resolution as the server. For me, this comes in very handy as I have a crappy monitor connected to my server with a very low resolution but the computer I use to remotely control my server has a very nice, large screen. When I use VNC, I get a very small window that shows me the same desktop as on the server's screen, when I connect with VNC, it will use the whole screen of my desktop giving me much more real estate to work with.

Finally, you can pipe sounds from the server to your remote machine with NX, again that doesn't work with VNC. And since I have no speakers attached to my server, but I obviously do to my desktop, this feature gives a voice to my server that I actually never had before.

It is however not Open Source although you can download a free version that allows 2 users to connect at the same time no matter what their location is, and share the desktop, which suits me just fine.

In my next post I will explain how to install NX and configure it.


  1. Anonymous // October 26, 2011 at 5:20 PM  

    Both connecting to an existing local X11 session and having seperate sessions for each VNC/RDP/NX connection have their pros and cons and both has a purpose, so you can't say that one of these ways of handling session(s) was better than the other. BTW, none of the protocols you mentioned is limited to one of these two operation modes. I have seen both kinds of setups with VNC as well as with RDP, and with NX you can also do both.