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Linux-ready remote access software rev’d

Oct 19, 2009 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — views

Italian remote access specialist NoMachine announced a version of its X Windows-based, Linux-compatible NX Remote Access solution for small businesses. The NX Small Business Server, which offers up to 10 concurrent sessions, incorporates last month's release of NX 3.4.0, which added multi-monitor support.

Designed for thin client networks and other remotely-hosted, low-bandwidth applications, NoMachine's open source, Linux-compatible NX technology compresses X requests and aims to reduce round-trip communications.

The NX Small Business Server version is aimed at midmarket companies with strict IT budgets, where small workgroups and branch departments need to access central-office databases. A story about the new small business product by Nathan Eddy in eWEEK, for example, describes how lawn and garden distributor Commerce uses NoMachine NX as a cost-effective way to provide remote access for its geographically dispersed sales reps.

NX Small Business Server is upgradeable to the NX Enterprise Server or NX Advanced Server, says the story. Compared to these more advanced versions, the software lacks LDAP and MS Active Directory integration, user profiles, or the ability to provide kiosk sessions for guest users. Unlike the Advanced Server, it also lacks multi-node support and manual node selection. Otherwise, NX Small Business Server appears to match the feature set of the other NX server products, supporting up to 10 concurrent users.

A free open source version of NX is also available, as well as an Enterprise Desktop version, various client versions, a Web companion version that supports iPhone access, and an NX Builder PHP application for publishing NX sessions to the web.

NX 3.4.0 adds multi-monitor support

The NX Small Business Server includes NX 3.4.0, which was released by NoMachine on Sept. 30 for all server, node, and client versions of NX. Version 3.4.0 adds multi-monitor support in the NX Client for Windows, and now supports the CUPS 1.4 printing system, says NoMachine. The new version can also better detect system commands to run KDE and GNOME desktop sessions, and enables customers to configure the server to allow them to run sessions as the root user. Major bug fixes are said to include improved Fedora 10 and 11 support, Oracle APS fixes, and other fixes for title bar text, scrolling, and Nxagent font support.

NX background

NX positions a caching proxy server on either side of the X Window System's client-server architecture, thereby reducing network traffic to differential transfers of whatever is not already cached. For example, it transmits only cursor movements and menu changes instead of resending the entire screen. NoMachine claims that NX can reduce network traffic by up to 50 times, providing Citrix-like scalability.

Launched in 2003, NX received an upgrade to version 3.0 in June 2007, adding new connection options, per-server and per-user profiles, support for x86_64, and enhanced scriptability. In 2008, the software was upgraded to version 3.2, adding features that supported kiosk use, followed by a version 3.3 maintenance release. Customers include a number of thin-client vendors that provide Linux distributions, such as SmartFlex, NeoWare, and Thinstation. NX is also incorporated in the LeoStream Connection Broker.

This July, Google released a proof-of-concept server windowing system based on NoMachine's original NX, as well as on FreeNX. Like NX, Google's open source NeatX server is designed to address X Windows' shortcomings when running over networks — and some believe Google may be prepping NeatX as a cloud-ready, display-server complement to Google's Chrome OS.


The NX Small Business Server is now available, starting at $745, says NoMachine. More information may be found here. The eWEEK story on the product should be here.

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