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Google Releases Open Source NX Server

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 5 years ago | from the free-and-good-together-defies-reason dept.

Google 257

wisesifu writes with news of a new open source NX server, dubbed NeatX, that was released by Google and promptly lost in the shuffle of the Chrome OS announcement. "NX technology was developed by NoMachine to handle remote X Window connections and make a graphical desktop display usable over the Internet. By its own admission, Google has been looking at remote desktop technologies for 'quite a while' and decided to develop Neatx as existing NX server products are either proprietary or difficult to maintain. 'The good old X Window system can be used over the network, but it has issues with network latency and bandwidth. Neatx remedies some of these issues,' Google engineers wrote on the company's open source blog. NoMachine had released parts of the source code to its NX product under the GPL, but the NX server remained proprietary. [...] Neatx is written in Python, with a few wrapper scripts in Bash and one program written in C 'for performance reasons.'"

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Sucks to be NoMachine (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28683331)

Poor NoMachine... now they don't have a product

Re:Sucks to be NoMachine (0)

V!NCENT (1105021) | more than 5 years ago | (#28683467)

Google is like killing it. It's like everything they touch turns into pure gold!

Help me Rob Malda you're my only hope! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28683623)

Help me Slashdot! Me and Steve Jobs were jacking each other off while we dildoed each others' asses with our iPhone 3Gs. Mine got stuck up my ass after I came and then Steve ran out on me! I've been trying to call him to come help me but he won't return my calls. What do I do?!?!!? I'm so scared...

Re:Help me Rob Malda you're my only hope! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28683987)

If you were on Verizon you would have a network of weird looking guys behind you, holding implements that may have been useful in that situation.

Re:Help me Rob Malda you're my only hope! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28684117)

Mine got stuck up my ass after I came and then Steve ran out on me! I've been trying to call him to come help me but he won't return my calls.

How'd you dial the phone if it was stuck up your ass?

Never mind, I don't want to know.

Re:Help me Rob Malda you're my only hope! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28684825)

How'd you dial the phone

Voice dial FTW!

Re:Sucks to be NoMachine (2, Interesting)

salimma (115327) | more than 5 years ago | (#28683739)

You mean NoProduct(TM)

Re:Sucks to be NoMachine (5, Funny)

Felix Da Rat (93827) | more than 5 years ago | (#28683755)

Poor NoMachine... now they don't have NoProduct

Fixed that for 'ya.

Re:Sucks to be NoMachine (5, Insightful)

GreenPickles (2275) | more than 5 years ago | (#28683985)

FreeNX has been around for quite some time and that hasn't killed NoMachine off. However, Google being involved may create more OpenSource developer interest in NX and perhaps someone will create a good Windows NX Server, Windows NX Client and better management tools. If Google rallies that much developer support it could mean an end to NoMachine.

Re:Sucks to be NoMachine (3, Interesting)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | more than 5 years ago | (#28684385)

They have developed it, they have the best know-how and most likely are the ones to offer best service and support. Such people don't usually starve.

FreeNX (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 5 years ago | (#28683357)

Was ( is ) open source i thought.. Either way, another player isn't a bad thing. Especially if its painless to setup on FreeBSD.

Re:FreeNX (4, Informative)

MBCook (132727) | more than 5 years ago | (#28683391)

It's mentioned in the article. It says that Google rejected it because it's a mess of Bash, Expect, and C and very hard to maintain. Their implementation is mostly Python, with a little C and Bash.

Re:FreeNX (3, Funny)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 5 years ago | (#28683627)

BASH, Expect, C ... sounds suspiciously like the hairballs I cooked up back when I was slaving away with sysadmin monkey duties.

Re:FreeNX (-1)

MrMr (219533) | more than 5 years ago | (#28683725)

I find this amazing. Since whole X11 protocol is already in place to do all the work, you need all that stuff to do 'xhost +'?.
Let me paraphrase an expression here:
People who don't know X11 are bound to reimplement it, badly.

Re:FreeNX (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28683757)

How can you reimplement badly that which already is a bad implementation?

Re:FreeNX (2, Funny)

Goaway (82658) | more than 5 years ago | (#28683849)

Wow, won't Google look silly now that you've told them that X11 exists! I bet they never even realized!

Re:FreeNX (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 5 years ago | (#28683893)

In fact it is quite possible that they never did.

Re:FreeNX (5, Funny)

rdoger6424 (879843) | more than 5 years ago | (#28684033)

Couldn't they just google it?

Re:FreeNX (1)

FlyingBishop (1293238) | more than 5 years ago | (#28684207)

Slashdot needs a +1 recursive mod.

Re:FreeNX (4, Informative)

agm (467017) | more than 5 years ago | (#28683977)

They are not reimplementing it, they are providing a wrapper to the X11 protocol so it performs better on low bandwidth, high latency links.

Ever tried do to remote X over, say, a 2Mb/s connection? Try it again with FreeNX and notice the large improvement in display performance.

Now if only they would somehow include GL in remote X.

Re:FreeNX (1)

JohnFluxx (413620) | more than 5 years ago | (#28684291)

> Now if only they would somehow include GL in remote X.

That's what xgl is.

Re:FreeNX (1)

agm (467017) | more than 5 years ago | (#28684905)

Would that use the local video card for acceleration? What I would like is a solution that would allow me to connect to a remote KDE session and have compiz-fusion work over the NX connection. At the moment if compiz is enables on the server, it is not used in the NXClient end, even if the client desktop has compiz enabled too.

Re:FreeNX (1)

tbuskey (135499) | more than 5 years ago | (#28684715)

Ever try remote X over, say a *slow* connection. 2Mb/s is not slow. But I started when 10baseT was the norm and sometimes ran X over a 28.8 or 14.4 modem.....

Re:FreeNX (1)

agm (467017) | more than 5 years ago | (#28684873)

Were you using a desktop with as much eye candy and visual features as is available today?

Re:FreeNX (2, Informative)

rduke15 (721841) | more than 5 years ago | (#28683991)

Except that NX is neither a full re-implemetation of X11, nor is it done badly. Instead, it actually works over very slow links.

Re:FreeNX (2, Informative)

harrkev (623093) | more than 5 years ago | (#28684589)

And it works quite well. Around here, it is the standard solution when one needs to run engineering applications (on Linux) from home. Our home machines have Windows, but NoMachines has quite a nice NX client for Windows. As far as efficiency and general "snappiness" it comes quite close to Windows Remote Desktop, but works well with a Linux host.

Two thumbs up for Google. Maybe they can fix some of the annoying bugs. The NoMachine NX client does NOT work well with two monitors. They claim that this is a limitation of Cygwin (which is apparently a core part of NX client). If Google fixes this, they will have my undying gratitude.

Re:FreeNX (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28684045)

You obviously have never used X over anything else than a local lan. It lags horribly and utilizes huge amounts of bandwidth. I've easily saturated a T1 using a remote web browser.

By contrast, using NX, the same web browser becomes usable over a modem.

X also doesn't have an easy way to migrate and suspend sessions.

Re:FreeNX (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28684527)

How's this any different than VNC?

And I've been using that for this exact purpose for like what, 10 years?

Re:FreeNX (3, Interesting)

Cyberax (705495) | more than 5 years ago | (#28684127)

X-protocol SUCKS for low-bandwidth high-latency links.

NX can require 100x less of bandwidth on some tasks. I remember reading news using 19200 modem link other the NX connection.

Re:FreeNX (1)

civilizedINTENSITY (45686) | more than 5 years ago | (#28684341)

"X11 protocol is already in place" has me confused. Isn't this an X server replacement?

Re:FreeNX (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | more than 5 years ago | (#28684521)

Nope. It's an X11 compression and roundtrip-reduction solution, so it complements your existing X11 server. On top of that, it also handles audio transport, remote printing (print from remote desktop to your local printer), letting the server access client's file systems (copy your data from a USB stick to the remote desktop), clipboard synchronization etc.

Re:FreeNX (1)

CajunArson (465943) | more than 5 years ago | (#28684657)

X is already implemented badly... at least when it comes to running over the Internet. Don't let the fact that you managed to run xeyes once over an SSH connection on your Gigabit LAN fool you into thinking that X will runs well over the Internet, as I can assure you it doesn't. The kicker that drove me over the edge was when I noticed that X was sending a packet over the wire every time the #%@#%@T cursor blinked. I posted it to some forums where there were multiple fingers pointed back & forth between the X server, the toolkit, the desktop environment, etc. etc.... lots of blaming, but no solutions.

Re:FreeNX (1)

fan777 (932195) | more than 5 years ago | (#28684857)

In the summary (and the article), it is mentioned that "X Windows has issues with network latency and bandwidth." Neatx resolves some of these issues.

Re:FreeNX (2, Funny)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | more than 5 years ago | (#28684445)

"It says that Google rejected it because it's a mess of Bash, Expect, and C and very hard to maintain. Their implementation is mostly Python, with a little C and Bash."

I would certainly expect some serious C bashing from a Python-using company. Or did I just C them bash expect?

Root is like crack (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28683365)

Root is like crack. Don't smoke it. I did once and got hooked. I ran Mac OS Updates as root. ****, I even had sex with my girlfriend as root. Man, that caused some permissions problems. When I started the road to recovery (logging in as Zacks) my girlfriend was all like: "**** no! You can't get any cause you don't own me an I don't go groups. You don't have the power to read, write OR execute so get out of my FACE" So I was all HELL NO bitch. And she wuz like you do not have root (superuser) privlages so get out of my TruBlueEnvironment! So then I went chown and chmodded her ass to me. Dat be-otch be up in my hizzouse. What what. Holla!

Re:Root is like crack (2, Funny)

civilizedINTENSITY (45686) | more than 5 years ago | (#28684359)

"sudo make me a sandwich" -XKCD

FreeNX (1)

Aphonia (1315785) | more than 5 years ago | (#28683379)

Is in TFA but not in summary.

Article doesn't state how the NX client from NoMachine is either, which is probably important for people trying it.

NIH (4, Insightful)

FrankSchwab (675585) | more than 5 years ago | (#28683407)

From TFA:
"There is a free implementation of an NX server based on NoMachine's libraries named FreeNX, but this did not appeal to Google.

"FreeNX's primary target is to replace the one closed component and is written in a mix of several thousand lines of Bash, Expect and C, making FreeNX difficult to maintain," according to Google.

Neatx is written in Python, with a few wrapper scripts in Bash and one program written in C "for performance reasons". "

It was unmaintainable because it was written in Bash, Expect, and C, so they rewrote it in Bash, Python, and C?

Re:NIH (4, Funny)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 5 years ago | (#28683459)

Maybe they didn't know how to program Expect (tcl). This would make Python much easier to maintain. ;)

Re:NIH (5, Funny)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 5 years ago | (#28683575)

It was unmaintainable because it was written in Bash, Expect, and C, so they rewrote it in Bash, Python, and C?

Well, they started to rewrite it in a mix of Haskell, Visual Basic, and Perl. But the project managers kept spontaneously combusting, so they had to go for a language combo that was a little more commonplace.

Re:NIH (0, Flamebait)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 5 years ago | (#28683955)

Haskell, Visual Basic, and Perl

One of them does not fit in there. Can you guess which one?

In other words: Those who do not understand Haskell (which admittedly is hard if your brain is limited to OOP and procedural coding), will re-implement it, badly (new Python functional programming features, now also seen in many other languages). :)

Re:NIH (3, Insightful)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 5 years ago | (#28684005)

In other words: Those who do not understand Haskell (which admittedly is hard if your brain is limited to OOP and procedural coding), will re-implement it

This just screams a "fixed that for you" post... I think you mean Lisp, don't you?

Re:NIH (1)

civilizedINTENSITY (45686) | more than 5 years ago | (#28684377)

functional (x server) server side javascript! soon it'll all be javascript, hehehe ;-)

Re:NIH (1)

tsalaroth (798327) | more than 5 years ago | (#28683605)

I think the FreeNX version has a lot more C than Expect.

That and Python is a bit more modular than Expect -- not bashing (heh) Expect, it has its place.

Re:NIH (4, Informative)

Abreu (173023) | more than 5 years ago | (#28683639)

Well, it would depend on how much code was written in each language in the original.

NeatX appears to be 90% Python, with only a few stuff in Bash and C, so its basically just a Python app

Re:NIH (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28684169)

Needs more INTERCAL, me thinks.

Re:NIH (1)

Lalo Martins (2050) | more than 5 years ago | (#28684313)

I don't see anything wrong with that logic... or, for that matter, anything "insightful" about your comment. One of the primary strengths of Python is being maintainable.

Re:NIH (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28684581)

FreeNX, are you kidding me? I thought the open source world has moved on to x2go a long time ago?

NIH regardless.

wasnt that the whole point of XWindows? (1)

peter303 (12292) | more than 5 years ago | (#28683481)

XWindows was remote window graphics developed at Stanford and fortified at MIT during the 1980s.

Re:wasnt that the whole point of XWindows? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28683643)

Yes.

However compare XWindows to something like Terminal Server, Citrix or even VNC, XWindows just doesn't stack up very well.

Performance is just the first problem it being invented in the 1980's and pretty much stuck there is another.

Re:wasnt that the whole point of XWindows? (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 5 years ago | (#28683681)

wasnt that the whole point of XWindows?

Yes. But it failed to account for future advancements in graphics technology. Thus regular desktop usage became too heavyweight for wide deployment. Thin clients splintered in the directions of Citrix, NX, and VNC. Microsoft also screwed over Citrix and developed RDP.

NX basically is the X11 protocol with many of the issues that make it suck removed. This is accomplished through imperceptible delays to bunch up commands, compression of packets, and caching of previously executed series of commands.

XWindows was remote window graphics developed at Stanford and fortified at MIT during the 1980s.

X Windowing System, actually. X11 for short.

Open Source NX Server (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28683493)

Google Releases Open Source NX Server

OK, now how about an open source NX client? Preferably one which doesn't fork off a background process to handle the display and then terminate, making it a PITA to use as an XDMCP-replacement on X terminals. Run until my session ends, damn you!

Re:Open Source NX Server (1)

tzanger (1575) | more than 5 years ago | (#28683779)

I don't have a problem with the NX client or the free NX server. I love it, in fact. I just wish I could get a damned NX client for the iphone, perhaps with push. run a single app via NX and connect to it from anywhere, just like screen, but for X11. :-)

Beats Web-apps (1, Interesting)

ickleberry (864871) | more than 5 years ago | (#28683509)

Well this sure beats HTML+HTTP and Javascript for displaying remote applications. Web browsers are horribly inefficient for running remote applications and its good to know somebody is working on a replacement

Of course the obvious problem with this is finding a way to block the ads running in a remote application. Maybe not if they always appear in the same places, but knowing Google I doubt they will.

Re:Beats Web-apps (1)

tenco (773732) | more than 5 years ago | (#28683673)

My guess is, they will develop an AJAX based NX client ... BETA.

Re:Beats Web-apps (2, Interesting)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 5 years ago | (#28683775)

You joke, but between the Canvas [whatwg.org] and Web Socket [w3.org] standards, I don't see any reason why they couldn't.

Granted, WebSockets have yet to be implemented in browsers, but I hear Google owns a fairly popular one...

Re:Beats Web-apps (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28684119)

Might even be called NX Web Player perhaps.....

http://www.nomachine.com/fr/view.php?id=FR11D01547

Long time user (5, Interesting)

bhsx (458600) | more than 5 years ago | (#28683513)

As a longtime NX user, this will be very well received. I feel like I'm one of a couple dozen NX users, however, meaning that I think this will go largely unnoticed by mainstream users. The non-proprietary NX-server packages are very non-trivial to install and all attempts thus far at a completed server setup have remained inadequate and completely fly-by-night/unmaintained. I hope people start to use this more and thus perhaps even push the technology farther.

Re:Long time user (1)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 5 years ago | (#28683539)

NX is awesome. it's performance has pissed on Xorg for a long long time.

Re:Long time user (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 5 years ago | (#28683741)

Almost anything beats the X11 protocol over the Internet, it's no good. But what does NX have over VNC? VNC works well for me and has both windows and linux clients and servers, with both console and background sessions on linux. But if NX is better, I'm open to it...

Re:Long time user (3, Informative)

keeboo (724305) | more than 5 years ago | (#28684201)

The problem with VNC is that it's horribly slow, even running it over a LAN is a joke.

Even DXPC (NX is a fork from that software) kicks VNC's ass.

Re:Long time user (4, Informative)

marm (144733) | more than 5 years ago | (#28684255)

But what does NX have over VNC?

The performance is an order of magnitude or five better? Honestly, unless you're on something with REALLY high latency, even raw, unmassaged X is frequently better than VNC performance-wise. NX however is hands-down the best performing remote display protocol I've seen. Decently performing (very usable for basic office tasks) full modern desktops when the link has 400ms+ latency and 10kbps bandwidth. It knocks ICA and RDP into a cocked hat.

Re:Long time user (2, Interesting)

CaptSaltyJack (1275472) | more than 5 years ago | (#28683685)

I too am a huge fan of NX. It blows the pants off of any other remote access technology (RDP, LogMeIn, VNC).

Re:Long time user (2, Interesting)

afidel (530433) | more than 5 years ago | (#28684217)

Really? Does it map printers, serial, and USB devices? Does it support drive mapping? Does it work with 80+% packet loss? These are all things that RDP supports or does. I know there is a design philosophy difference between Unix and Windows (do one thing in a small package and do it well vs everything and the kitchen sink) but honestly for the vast majority of users out there having one tool do it all is much more convenient.

Re:Long time user (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | more than 5 years ago | (#28684565)

"Does it map printers, serial, and USB devices? Does it support drive mapping?"

Yes, as far as I know, all of these are supported.

Re:Long time user (2, Interesting)

blackpaw (240313) | more than 5 years ago | (#28684841)

I think the GP means printer, serial and USB devices at the *client* end. With RDP you can make a printer or drive attached to your local PC accessible to the application running in your server session. Very handy for local stuff.

I don't think NX supports that.

Re:Long time user (1)

tzanger (1575) | more than 5 years ago | (#28683791)

NX Free edition is non-trivial to install? There are three packages to download and install off of nomachine's website. It just works once they're installed. What are you talking about?

Re:Long time user (1)

Eric Smith (4379) | more than 5 years ago | (#28684261)

NX Free Edition is free as in beer, not open-source. They only open-sourced the protocol compression libraries. The actual open-source server, FreeNX, is very brittle. When it works, it works fine, but it's difficult to install and maintain.

Re:Long time user (1)

Eric Smith (4379) | more than 5 years ago | (#28684281)

I should add that I'm not being critical of NoMachine for not open-sourcing the rest of their client or server code. I think it's great that they open-sourced the protocol compression libraries, as that's the part that would be most difficult to replicate.

Re:Long time user (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28684287)

NoMachine's NX Free as in Beer Edition could be trivial to install. FreeNX (as in Speech) isn't.

Re:Long time user (2, Interesting)

salimma (115327) | more than 5 years ago | (#28683817)

One possibility is if it's taken up by OS vendors (Linux distributions, Apple) as their remote windowing solution. Red Hat/Fedora is heavily VNC-focused -- with the installation process doable over VNC, and both full desktops (GNOME and KDE) coming with their own VNC servers. Apple's OS X also has a VNC server, AFAIR. Microsoft, naturally, has their own solutions...

Google will most likely use this in some way within Chrome OS -- if it shares many innards with Android, the graphics obviously won't be X11-based, and so if their NeatX can be adapted to that, it will make the OS much more usable than just running web apps.

Re:Long time user (2, Informative)

rduke15 (721841) | more than 5 years ago | (#28683949)

I feel like I'm one of a couple dozen NX users

I don't know if many people use NX, but I sure do install it on all my servers now. And while I had trouble with FreeNX, the NoMachine version was really easy to setup [alma.ch] .

(I use it with meld and sshfs to compare /etc trees between similar servers.)

Where would such technologies be really useful? (1)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 5 years ago | (#28683559)

I wonder whether there are environments where technologies like NeatX can be regarded as "God sent" solutions.

I know the technology and have used it several times but I still fail to see how it could be useful given the enormous power today's systems have.

I guess I am calling for serious implementations...anyone?

Re:Where would such technologies be really useful? (1)

TheDarkener (198348) | more than 5 years ago | (#28683787)

Think schools, students and homework. I work in the world of Linux and LTSP in education. LTSP has already given schools the gift of easily maintained, green, FOSS computing. NX would be *perfect* for kids needing access to their desktop from home, for, say, homework. Like telecommuting, but for school. =)

Re:Where would such technologies be really useful? (5, Informative)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#28684019)

I'd say that, these days, it is more about session persistence, network location, and access to local and/or network resources that make these technologies most useful.

VNC/RDP, for instance, make it really easy to have your entire desktop session, with all open programs, program state, etc. on one computer available over the network from another computer. If you have a whole bunch of windows open, with lots of tabs, and a half finished document, and some other stuff you are referring to, it is way more convenient to just connect to your session, rather than try to recreate it on another machine.

Citrix, X, and NX are really convenient for situations where a program's context matters. If I just want to type out a shopping list, or check a web page, it doesn't really matter where the program I use runs(which usually means that I should run it locally, because latency sucks). If, though, I'm opening my bittorrent client, or trying to edit some documents at work, it matters where the program is running. I want my bittorrent client to be running on a computer with a fast pipe and a big disk, even if I'm controlling it from my cellphone. If I'm trying to edit some work documents, I want Word running on my work's LAN, so all my documents on the fileserver will be available(without the risks involved in just copying stuff to my laptop, then leaving it on the train).

I worked at a school where the latter use was common and fairly highly valued. We didn't want to deal with the hassle of hundreds or thousands of potentially infected machines belonging to students and faculty having VPN access to the LAN. We did want students and faculty to be able to access their documents and email when they were at home. To solve the problem, we used Citrix to offer remote access to all the common programs that students and staff would use to view or edit documents, set up so that the programs would have access to the files of the user that logged in.

It wasn't perfect; but it largely worked. The user would go to a web portal, enter their credentials, and get a bunch of clickable icons. Click on "Word" or whatever and it would(after a few moments of Citrix doing its thing) pop up, looking modestly like a local application. If you hit "Open", though, you'd have access to all your documents from our fileserver. Super easy.

Re:Where would such technologies be really useful? (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 5 years ago | (#28684167)

This might be extremely useful if one wanted to implement a server component of thin client, or a web based OS. I seem to recall a lot of stuff about one of those in the news lately. (It may be completely unrelated, but they may have some plans for it).

Re:Where would such technologies be really useful? (1)

bertoelcon (1557907) | more than 5 years ago | (#28684193)

I wonder whether there are environments where technologies like NeatX can be regarded as "God sent" solutions.

I know the technology and have used it several times but I still fail to see how it could be useful given the enormous power today's systems have.

I guess I am calling for serious implementations...anyone?

I am thinking maybe somewhere along the cloud computing scape. I would think that loading the client alone would be less than a minimal netbook OS, while the server handled all the backend work.

Re:Where would such technologies be really useful? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28684391)

I use it all the time. I'm not arguing whether there are or aren't other good options, but NX rocks.

I have innumerable windows open at work with info that I'm using. Then I leave work, go home, eat (sometimes), and pick up right where I left off. No overhead trying to remember where I was or what I was doing. I can do this equally well from Mac, Windows, or Linux as NoMachine has good clients for all.

My work involves some graphics, and even that works fine, although a bit slower because I lose the benefit of the graphics card.
And my machine is connected to a number of private networks that are not accessible externally, so it's impossible or extremely inconvenient to recreate my work environment any other way.

Also, NX works beautifully over our VPN, and I know that *all* my traffic is protected. In contrast, on the occasion I've taken my Windows machine home, Outlook was able to connect to read my mail even when I wasn't using the VPN. Granted, this is only possible because our network is configured that way, but I didn't know that and was mildly disconcerted by the possibility of sensitive emails being transmitted in the clear.

NX just got a little better (2, Interesting)

ZeroNullVoid (886675) | more than 5 years ago | (#28683569)

I love FreeNX and have used it for a long time, I can't wait to try this...

I also love Python as a language and I used to be an it's C/C++ or Java or it's not worth it.

After falling in love with Python, it is let me see if python can handle this with speed, if not, I'll write a class in C and use python to Access if needed.

I don't really see why they even really need the bash scripts though.

If you use any POSIX system remotely and like GUI's, NX is a must. VNC and Plain X are slow (even with ssh compression)

Re:NX just got a little better (1)

VGPowerlord (621254) | more than 5 years ago | (#28683805)

I wonder if it'd be faster running under IronPython on Mono... ...nah!

Re:NX just got a little better (1)

wmbetts (1306001) | more than 5 years ago | (#28683925)

I love FreeNX and have used it for a long time, I can't wait to try this...

I also love Python as a language and I used to be an it's C/C++ or Java or it's not worth it.

After falling in love with Python, it is let me see if python can handle this with speed, if not, I'll write a class in C and use python to Access if needed.

I don't really see why they even really need the bash scripts though.

If you use any POSIX system remotely and like GUI's, NX is a must. VNC and Plain X are slow (even with ssh compression)

I have a feeling you won't be writing a class in C.

Re:NX just got a little better (1)

ZeroNullVoid (886675) | more than 5 years ago | (#28684015)

your right, lol C++

Re:NX just got a little better (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28684035)

gobject :)

Re:NX just got a little better (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28684051)

After falling in love with Python, it is let me see if python can handle this with speed, if not, I'll write a class in C and use python to Access if needed.

I have a feeling you won't be writing a class in C.

On the contrary. C is the native language of Python and its API, and one most certainly can implement a Python class (type) in C.

Re:NX just got a little better (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28684885)

I don't see why not. It's quite useful sometimes to write classes in C. C doesn't have native object-oriented semantics in the language itself, but you can write classes in any number of object-oriented schemes, such as when extending Python.

Getting NeatX (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28683659)

At the moment, we're not doing releases as we're constantly fixing small things as people try out the codebase.

NX is teh shindiggity! (5, Informative)

thatkid_2002 (1529917) | more than 5 years ago | (#28683663)

It might be worth mentioning to some people who are no doubt confused; there is a difference between FreeNX and NX Free. And on a futher side note, I have tried installing FreeNX two or three times and the packages seemed to be unavailable from distro repo or even from the berlios FS (Weird!). In any case if this Google NX server isn't a piece of junk I will be over the moon!

In my opinion NX is #1 remote display (also sound and printing) technology there is. You get a great quality image over a very slow DSL connection! VNC doesn't come anywhere near it - and for the $0 price tag you can't beat it!

The trouble with NX Free is that it can only allow a few simultaneous connections at a time - I'm hoping Google's server changes this.

It's no Quartz (0, Offtopic)

gig (78408) | more than 5 years ago | (#28683863)

If Google is serious about Android and Chrome OS, then they will build something like Apple's Quartz. There is no substitute for doing this all in OpenGL.

Re:It's no Quartz (1)

The MAZZTer (911996) | more than 5 years ago | (#28684243)

There is no substitute for doing this all in OpenGL.

I see what you did there *nudge *nudge* *wink* *wink*. I'm sure Vista's DirectX accelerated desktop is hurt by your comment.

Re:It's no Quartz (3, Informative)

Lemming Mark (849014) | more than 5 years ago | (#28684441)

The use of a layer such as Qwartz for Android and Chrome is somewhat independent from Google's working on an NX server though, isn't it? NX is a protocol and client / server code for implementing remote applications with good performance, even over low bandwidth and / or high latency links. It was developed by NoMachine, although others (such as FreeNX and 2X) have also built NX servers. So it really serves a very different (and somewhat orthogonal, though it *is* X11-based) purpose to Quartz.

When you mentioned Quartz, I assumed you meant the compositing layer but Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quartz_(graphics_layer)) helpfully mentions that both the 2D rendering engining and the Quartz Extreme compositor are sometimes just lumped together as "Quartz". Confusing! So I'm not really sure which you mean ;-)

I'm not clear from the Wikipedia articles whether GL acceleration is yet used by default for Quartz 2D, the rendering engine. though of course the Quartz Extreme Compositor has been doing that for years.

Anyhow, I was going to note that - if you discount X+compiz or whatever as being too heavyweight to be equivalent - the Wayland display server (http://groups.google.com/group/wayland-display-server) is the nearest Linux-land thing I'm aware to Quartz Extreme and it's a pretty neat project at that. Cunningly, Wayland reuses a *lot* of existing X.org infrastructure, it looks like it should be able to support an accelerated X server efficiently as a client *and* they have ideas for what it could be used for even if the rest of the world don't start porting their toolkits to it. So it's a fairly exciting piece of work for the future of display systems on Unix-likes.

Nearest thing to Quartz 2D would seem to be things like Cairo and QT's Arthur. They've been around for a while; I know Cairo can render using GL and would be amazed if Arthur couldn't.

I've no idea what Android runs for its display stack but I'd think that Chrome OS, running on bigger hardware, will have the option of running desktop-class servers and libraries like this. I can't see a move to Wayland by anybody *just* yet but perhaps it's viable for a future revision.

In the meantime, if Google's NeatX makes more seamless, higher performing remote desktop available to more people - that's awesome. One day I might even run it on my server and access it from a netbook - running Chrome OS, perhaps.

Timing (0)

VGPowerlord (621254) | more than 5 years ago | (#28683869)

Am I the only one concerned that a company known for collecting tons of data about people has announced a remote desktop product at the same time as they announced a new, slimmed down OS revolving around having an Internet connection?

*shiver*

Re:Timing (1)

mikehoskins (177074) | more than 5 years ago | (#28683941)

Yes and no.

Since this app is open source, there should be no issue, or else a fork will promptly be created.

Good news well done Google. Another option is xpra (4, Interesting)

Lemming Mark (849014) | more than 5 years ago | (#28684099)

This is excellent news, I've really enjoyed using NX but always found it slightly temperamental to use. Still, it gave me high performance rootless application access over a dodgy wifi link in Germany, back to my machine at uni in the UK - with the ability to resume every time the wifi dropped. I've known people have trouble resuming dropped sessions, though it worked when I needed it. Anything which is well-supported and makes NX nicer to work with is very welcome - I hope Google press on with making this better and better. It's be real nice if they'd make an open source client available too, preferably with a choice of front-end widget libraries ;-)

Another project, which I actually head about on Slashdot and am very impressed by is Xpra: http://partiwm.org/wiki/xpra [partiwm.org]

Xpra = X Persistent Remote Applications, i.e. connect to your xpra server (tunnels through ssh by default) to get rootless applications delivered to your desktop, disconnect and reconnect somewhere else and get the same apps back. Like screen, for X. It's not meant for fast-changing displays, e.g. video. But it's a nice, compact approach that largely consists of a few thousand lines of Python. It uses modern X extensions cunningly to get the job done without having to understand most of the X protocol itself. And, somewhat like NX, it's better suited to high latency links than simple X11 protocol is. These days I think Xpra is starting to get more advanced features such as Windows client support, theme matching for remote and local apps, some clipboard sharing, etc. It's a nice little app that has its uses, particularly if you want something simpler than NX to set up and administer. The server can also be easily run by an unprivileged user whereas I'm not sure if that's the case for NX (?).

Re:Good news well done Google. Another option is x (1)

Lemming Mark (849014) | more than 5 years ago | (#28684263)

Actually, replying to myself: what I'd *really* like to see is some funky modern window manager that leverages X11 extensions in a similar way to Xpra to enable forwarding of apps I started *locally* over some network protocol. Perhaps there's a reason this can't be done but I'm not really sure what it could be? I don't want to have to decide in advance which apps I might want to migrate - and I don't want to suffer performance penalties whilst I'm not remoting them.

Xpra, sadly, can only display apps you explicitly ran against the Xpra server. NX is the same. You can't just use it to access some random app you're running on your desktop at home. I've tried putting certain key apps into Xpra and then *always* "remoting" them, even when I'm on my home system. It works but it's a waste of resources and it's going to slow stuff down a bit (depending on what you're doing). I'd really like to get full Video / OpenGL performance from my apps when I'm at my machine but still be able to remote those apps in a performance-degraded way without restarting them.

neatx client (2, Interesting)

catmistake (814204) | more than 5 years ago | (#28684277)

a free oss server... that's good news. Is there source for the neatx client somewhere?

From the horse's mouth (5, Informative)

amirulbahr (1216502) | more than 5 years ago | (#28684325)

A link to the announcement from Google [blogspot.com] .

Chrome OS? (1)

Lalo Martins (2050) | more than 5 years ago | (#28684331)

Hmm, lost in the shuffle of the Chrome OS announcement... but maybe it's related? I can see such a component being hugely useful on Chrome OS.

URI scheme name to launch remote apps (1)

Zantetsuken (935350) | more than 5 years ago | (#28684601)

So who wants to guess they'll use this with their newly announced "Chrome OS" along with a custom URI scheme handler (ex: "telnet://xxxx" or "apt:xxxxx") where following that link launches the appropriate program. Chrome OS would basically only need 2 or 3 apps for the user to interact with - X-server, Chrome, and NeatX. You wanna use an actual office suite instead of Google Docs? Launch K-Office via the a custom Google homepage, it runs remotely on cloud servers (which you may or may not need a subscription for). This allows manufacturers to use even more low power hardware, you get better battery life, Google gets to mine your data for advertising, and it uses that cell carrier 3G connection even more, allowing the carrier to charge you more...

Will they fix the different per-bit color? (1)

AngelWind (878448) | more than 5 years ago | (#28684741)

The one thing that keeps me from running NX is that it won't let me connect to my session unless both the server and client run the exact same color depth. With VNC, I can connect to my 16-bit color X session at home on my 32-bit color Windows client at work. With NX, unless both desktops are running the exact same color depth, it won't connect. If there's a way around this, Google's search hasn't shown me anything.
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