[*nix Server] XFCE+X2GO: A lightweight desktop GUI on VPS

In my case, debian is running on the R&D server. We manage two KVM guest VPS on the server. Some times we need to use X11 forwarding to get GUI working on the local machine. Sometimes, it’s simply not working or very slow depend on the network situation.

XFCE4 is a ideal desktop GUI for VPS because it’s very lightweight.

On debian, first add apt-key called x2go-keyring:

apt-key adv --recv-keys --keyserver keys.gnupg.net E1F958385BFE2B6E

And then add the X2go repository to /etc/apt/sources.list

# X2Go Repository (release builds)
deb http://packages.x2go.org/debian wheezy main
# X2Go Repository (sources of release builds)
deb-src http://packages.x2go.org/debian wheezy main

# X2Go Repository (nightly builds)
#deb http://packages.x2go.org/debian wheezy heuler
# X2Go Repository (sources of nightly builds)
#deb-src http://packages.x2go.org/debian wheezy heuler

Do a update of your APT package database, and install x2go-keyring package:

apt-get update && apt-get install x2go-keyring

Install XFCE4 and X2GO by:

apt-get install xfce4 xfce4-goodies xfce4-clipman x2goserver x2goserver-xsession

Basically, that’s it. You don’t need to open up any port, because all the x2go traffic is going through SSH. And there is no daemon need to by run on the background, after X2Go client is connect, the x2goserver will be running automatically.

Here is a list of clients you may need to run on the client machine. Take windows as an example:

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In X2Go client session preferences: Choose “XFCE” as session type, use ssh username/password to login. If you are using SSH key , put it in “Use RSA/DSA key for ssh connection”. You can also use a Putty PPK key by convert it in PuTTYgen.

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It’s very convinent to run virt-manage on the server now, and the ram/cpu consumption is really nothing.

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