No Machine and other Remote Access clients

Most of software engineers might be working on multiple computers. For example, you could have a windows laptop you use for checking your mail, writing documents and browsing. And a Linux desktop that is used for software development. This is a common scene in most companies now. You might wonder what’s the best remote access tool that you should use. Here is what I do and I’m kinda satisfied with the tools I use.

I’ve using multiple computers at work since 2006. I’ve used mainly two remote access tools – putty and VNC. I have stopped used VNC and started using ‘No Machine’ since last year.

Putty

This is extremely useful when you need to do a thing or two on a remote server and wrap up after some time. This servers the basic purpose of remote connectivity, but not very powerful. Just save your sessions, keys etc. and it would be very easy to login to remote machines.

Putty is extremely painful when you are on a fleaky network or when you need to connect to multiple machines at once. One network connection drop – you need to reconnect again.

Putty + Screen

I use this combination to maintain sessions with multiple production servers. Open a putty session to your desktop and create a screen with multiple sessions and there you go, it’s going to help even when putty crashes, or network connection drop or you just need to hibernate and connect back at home. All your sessions are live in screen, and you just need to connect once to your desktop and open screen. Screen is a great multiplexer. And by combining screen and putty, you can enjoy maximum speed for light operations like only executing commands. For more information on screen, read this - http://www.gnu.org/software/screen/

VNC

I used VNC some time back, but I recently (an year back) switched to No Machine. VNC is a remote access software. This needs to be run both on server and client. This is useful when you need to develop some software on a remote server using an IDE. Usually, I use it when I want to connect to my desktop from home to use an IDE for software development. I found it slower than No Machine. See http://www.realvnc.com/

No Machine

I started using this late last year and I’m really impressed. You will need to install No Machine on both your server and client. Just install No Machine on your desktop, connect from your laptop using No Machine client. It’s very fast, you won’t feel the difference and feels like you are working on the desktop directly. In fact, I completely stopped using my desktop monitor [returned it to our IT team :) ] and connect to my desktop only using No Machine. Now, less clutter on my desk, I use only one monitor that’s connected to my laptop docking station and No Machine does the rest. I would recommend using No Machine for all heavy GUI use like coding on eclipse etc. See http://www.nomachine.com/ (NX Server)

Hope that helps.

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