Virtual Desktop Service (xrdp)

Project blog:


The server-side configuration is closely based on a prototype service developed by SEE a couple of months ago. It uses xrdp project to provide remote access to the X server. In front of that is a proxy which uses HAProxy to load balance across a cluster of machines. Up to now we have only had a single "staff" server and a single "student" server but with there being a lot more interest in supporting distance learning we clearly are going to have to expand our provision and this should provide the ideal solution.

Based on the work of FreeRDP and rdesktop, xrdp uses the remote desktop protocol to present a GUI to the user. The goal of this project is to provide a fully functional Linux terminal server, capable of accepting connections from rdesktop, freerdp, and Microsoft's own terminal server / remote desktop clients. Xrdp uses Xvnc or X11rdp to manage the X session.
A free, very fast and reliable solution offering high availability, load balancing, and proxying for TCP and HTTP-based applications.

SEE headers (needs EASE authentication):

LCFG headers (closely based on SEE):

DICE headers:

Test service on which is using two VMs - mizar and alnilam.


One of our biggest issues with the NX service has been the lack of decent client software for all platforms. The open-source versions have rarely been sufficiently well maintained so we've been reliant on the closed-source versions from NoMachine, newer versions of which no longer support the old protocol. With RDP it is all a lot simpler as it's a "standard" protocol on Windows and MacOSX.

Various clients are available, the current best appears to be Remmina which is available as a package for at least Fedora, Debian, Ubuntu.
The standard Microsoft Remote Desktop application (which is free to install) should work. See this page for details.
Microsoft provide a free application in the App Store

SEE have put together some basic notes on how to configure various RDP clients.


Further Ideas

  • If a user has been allocated a DICE desktop could we forward them directly to that machine?

-- StephenQuinney - 06 Feb 2018

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Topic revision: r3 - 21 Feb 2018 - 11:03:14 - StephenQuinney
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