Saturday, April 14, 2007

Ubuntu experiences

I don't think I've let on about the true horror of the computer network I run at home. We run 4 Windows XP PC's, 1 Windows XP Laptop, 1 LinkSys NSLU (slug) file-server, 1 8-port switch, 1 wireless/wired router, 1 wireless router, a cable modem, and now a Linux PC.

When I got my Medion 8818, I installed Ubuntu on the old PC (came with Windows 98 installed). My excuse was that I sometimes need to repair the USB disks that run on the Slug and it's easier to have a proper Linux machine available than to run up a Live installation on a laptop. However, until recently, all I've done has been to power up the PC, install updates, be amazed that I can browse the web, and to switch off the PC. But with the impending arrival of a new toy and the desire to get the old PC out of the study, I thought I'd better get going and install VNC.

So, having asked a couple of colleagues about this, I went for tightVNC.First I installed it on the XP Medion. Then on the Ubuntu PC. Installation was relatively painless. But how do you use it? I found the Ubuntu documentation which describes using VNC over SSH, and although I wasn't intending using SSH, it did contain a description of who to use the VNC server on Linux. Except I got a pile of error messages when I followed the instructions. It seems like the documentation and the installation disagreed about where various fonts lived. Relatively easily fixed - although that involved getting on top of an editor - and now I can use a Linux desktop from my XP PC.

In fact, it works so well, that I am editing this post using a VNC session on the XP PC connected to Ubuntu PC. Amazing.

Next step, workout how to run the Ubunto PC with screen, keyboard and mouse. Any tips greatefully received.

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