Vinagre remote desktop connection for Linux

Do you administer Linux machines? Or do you just need the ability to remotely connect to your Linux machines from other Linux machines? If so, are you looking for an easy solution for this task? There is one, if you are a fan of the GNOME desktop.

Vinagre is a remote desktop tool with plenty of features and ease of use for just about any level of user. It's enjoying release 2.30.1 so it's quite mature. In this article I will show you how to install and use the default GNOME remote desktop tool.

Features

Vinagre offers enough features to help make it stand out among other rdp clients:

  • Tabbed interface allows you to connect to multiple desktops in one window.
  • Favorites keep you from having to enter those connection details every time you need to connect.
  • Track your recent connections.
  • Auto-discovery of VNC servers.
  • No need for passwords (if you so choose).

Now let's get to the installation and usage.

Installation

Most likely, if you are using a newer GNOME desktop, Vinagre is already installed. If you click Applications > Internet and you see Remote Desktop Viewer listed, it's there. If not, follow these instructions:

  1. Oopen up your Add/Remove Software tool.
  2. Search for "vinagre" (no quotes).
  3. Mark vinagre for installation.
  4. Click Apply to install.

That's it! Vinagre is now installed.

Usage

Figure 1

In order to use Vinagre you have to have at least two workstations. Let's take a look at connection to a Ubuntu desktop from a Fedora desktop. The first thing you have to do is allow the remote connections on the target machine. From the target machine (in this case Ubuntu 10.04) click System > Preferences > Remote Desktop which will open up the Vinagre preferences window (see Figure 1).

What you need to do is to first click the Allow other users to view your desktop. This will enable the server for incoming connections. The other options are specific to your needs and reflect security and quick access to the Vinagre application.

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Once you have taken care of the target configuration, let's go to the primary location - the Fedora desktop.

From Fedora click Applications > Internet > Remote Desktop Viewer to open up the main Vinagre window. Once there click on the Connect button to open up the connection dialogue  (see Figure 2). If you click the Find button any machine with a VNC server on your network will show up, which you can then select using the drop-down. If not, just enter the IP address of the machine and click Find. Once you've done that you can then control some of the graphic aspects of the connection (to spare bandwidth if necessary). Once you have set up your connection click Connect and Vinagre will open up a connection to the target machine. You should now be able to take control of said target (see Figure 3).

Figure 3

As you can see (in the remote machine) you get an alert that another user has connected to your machine.

Compiz issue

If you use Compiz on your target machine you might find your primary machine unable to control the target. If that's the case there is a work around. To get around this problem you have to open up gconf-editor, navigate to desktop > gnome > applications > remote access, and then click the checkbox for disable_xdamage. Once you have done this close gconf-editor and your source machine should now be able to take control of the target.

Final thoughts

Vinagre is one of the easiest to use remote desktop tools I have come across. With the inclusion of tabs and favorites, it makes it a strong candidate to take over as your favorite remote tool for the Linux environment.

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Responses to Vinagre remote desktop connection for Linux

  1. jake June 24, 2010 at 2:02 pm #

    i've always used vinagre at work to control my nix box at home, and ever since I upgraded to 10.04, I've noticed that the mouse is VERY laggy. It's like the mouse input gets stuck in the remote session only. Back in (& before) 9.10, it was always very snappy. Is there a way to tell vinagre or (maybe it's a server side option) to let my host mouse do the pointing & the remote mouse just follow where my mouse goes?

    I know this may not make sense due to my describing the problem, but maybe someone might know what I'm talking about?

  2. Jack June 24, 2010 at 8:42 pm #

    Jake: Do you have Compiz enabled? If so try the "fix" I offered in the above article. That might take care of the issue.

    • jake June 24, 2010 at 9:07 pm #

      nope. i run straight metacity. i've even tried xcompmgr w/ openbox+other stuff & (thinking it was metacity related) have encountered same problem.

      i used to have a dot for where i pointed my mouse on my pc im remoting from. the machine i RD into would normally just follow the mouse around so i didn't encounter "mouse lag" so to speak... i dunno

      i guess i'll live with it. it's just annoying is all. figured it was a setting i wasn't aware of in vino or something?

  3. Curt Nicol D.D. Ph.D. June 2, 2012 at 9:33 pm #

    Is there a Compiz fix/workaround for Ubuntu 11.10?

  4. Manojg February 21, 2014 at 3:53 am #

    Hi,

    I have two laptops one running Fedora 13 and another Fedora 14. Both are in my local wireless network. I have enabled Vinagre connection in both machines. I could connect Fedora 14 from fedora 13 but when I try to connect Fedora 13 from Fedora 14, it refuses the connection. SSH connection works fine in both machines.

    What could be the problem?

    Thanks.

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