Ubuntu Remote Desktop (GUI)

How Does Ubuntu Remote Desktop Work? What is the best way to set it up and use it?

Are you looking for a way to connect to your Ubuntu PC remotely? With Ubuntu Remote Desktop, you can remotely access your server from Linux or Windows operating systems from anywhere.

By default, Ubuntu includes a remote desktop feature that allows you to access your server remotely via RDP or VNC. You can use remote desktop software with Ubuntu by following these steps.

3 Ways to Remote Control Ubuntu

When it comes to remote controlling an Ubuntu PC, there are three main options available. Each option has its own advantages and use cases, so you can choose the one that best suits your needs.

  • 1. SSH: Secure Shell

SSH, also known as Secure Shell, is a widely used method for remote access and control in Ubuntu. It provides a secure encrypted connection between the local and remote machines. With SSH, you can execute commands, manage files, and even access the Ubuntu desktop remotely. This is particularly useful when you want to control your Ubuntu PC from a different location or manage a headless server without a graphical interface.

  • 2. VNC: Virtual Network Computing

VNC, or Virtual Network Computing, is another popular option for remote control in Ubuntu. It allows you to view and interact with the graphical desktop environment of the remote Ubuntu PC. VNC works by transmitting the screen updates from the remote machine to your local computer, enabling you to control it as if you were sitting directly in front of it. This is useful when you need to access and use specific applications or work with the Ubuntu desktop remotely.

  • 3. RDP: Remote Desktop Protocol

RDP, or Remote Desktop Protocol, is a proprietary protocol developed by Microsoft. However, there are open-source implementations available for Ubuntu, such as xrdp. RDP enables you to remotely access and control an Ubuntu PC using a graphical desktop environment, similar to VNC. It provides a seamless remote desktop experience and is particularly useful when you need to connect to your Ubuntu PC from a Windows machine or utilise features specific to RDP.

Why is SSH not the best choice?

Although SSH is the preferred tool for many Linux users for remote connections, it does not have a graphical user interface (GUI). In most cases, these three options are separate from each other. The good news is that with Ubuntu's built-in remote desktop tool, you can use SSH, VNC, and RDP at the same time.

What is a graphical user interface (GUI)?

A graphical user interface (GUI) is a type of interface that allows users to interact with a computer system through visual images and icons instead of typing commands or using text-based commands. GUIs provide a more intuitive and user-friendly interface, making it easier for users to navigate and interact with the computer system.

By default Ubuntu Server does not include a graphical user interface (GUI). The GUI takes up system resources (memory and CPU) that are used for server-oriented tasks. However, some tasks and applications are easier to manage and work better in a GUI environment.

Step-by-Step Guide to Working in GUI

Start by updating the repositories and package lists:

apt -y update && apt -y upgrade

This ensures that you are running the latest software updates.

Then install the tasksel task manager utility:

(Tasksel is a Debian/Ubuntu tool that installs several dependent packages on your system at a single task)

apt install tasksel

Next, create a new user to work in the GUI:

(where user1 is the user name)

adduser user1

(You will be asked a series of questions. Enter and confirm your new user password. It is not necessary to answer all the other questions).

If you want the new user to be able to perform administrative tasks, you need to add the user to the sudo group:

usermod -aG sudo user1


GNOME

GNOME is the default graphical interface for most Ubuntu installations.

To install GNOME, start tasksel:

tasksel

The interface will start, where using the arrows, scroll down the list and find Ubuntu desktop.

Select this item using the "spacebar", then use the "TAB" button to select "OK" and press "ENTER".

Then wait for the installation process to complete

After completing the installation process, you will need to restart Display Manager:

service gdm restart

The GUI starts up:

Enter the password for the created user and log in:

KDE Plasma

KDE is another popular graphical interface.

To install KDE Plasma, use the following command:

apt-get install kde-plasma-desktop -y

During installation, you may be prompted to select the default display manager.

Use the arrow keys to make a selection, then press Enter.

After the installation process is complete, restart the Display Manager:

(in our case it is gdm)

service gdm restart

Next, you enter the password for the user you want to use, and then you get to the KDE Plasma glafical interface:

Mate Core

Mate is a popular and easy-to-use graphical interface.

Install it by running the following command:

tasksel install ubuntu-mate-core

Then wait for the installation process to complete

After the installation process is complete, restart the Display Manager:

(in our case it is gdm)

service gdm restart

Our next step is to enter the password for the user and get to the Mate graphical interface:

Lubuntu Core Server

Lubuntu has a very lightweight graphical interface.

This application provides a graphical interface while minimizing the impact on your system memory and CPU.

With the following command, you can install from the tasksel menu:

tasksel

The interface will start, where using the arrows, scroll down and find the Lubuntu desktop.

Select this item using the "spacebar", then press the "TAB" button to select "OK" and press "ENTER".

Then wait for the installation process to complete

After the installation process is complete, restart the Display Manager:

(in our case it is gdm)

service gdm restart

Next, enter the password for the user you want to use and enter the Lubuntu glafic interface:

Xfce Desktop

The Xfce desktop environment can be used separately. It is designed to be responsive, lightweight, and easy to use.

To install Xfce run the command:

apt-get install xfce4 slim

During installation, you may be prompted to select the default display manager.

Use the arrow keys to make a selection, then press Enter.

(In our example we will use slim)

After the installation process is complete, restart the Display Manager:

(in our case it is slim, the Xfce GUI is only compatible with the SLiM Display Manager).

service slim restart

Next, we enter our user name and password and enter the Xfce graphical shell:

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