Unix Timeshare: Setting Up X2Go

Setting up X2Go

X2Go allows you to access a remote graphical desktop over a low bandwidth connection. In otherwords, you can use X2Go to login to the Unix timeshare in a graphical fashion instead of using a command line. It is similar to the X11 (or XWindows) system that use XDMCP (or SSH) to view a remote desktop. X2Go is availble on multiple platforms, so simply pick the client that works best for you. More information can be found on the X2Go website, located here.

X2Go on a Mac

In order to use X2Go with a Mac, you need to download an install an X11 environment. If you are running 10.6 or newer (Snow Leopard), then I suggest installing XQuartz. If you're using something older than 10.5, then you can use the OS install media that came with your computer to install X11. After you've installed X11, log out of your computer and log back in again. Notes about installation can be found here.

  1. Make sure you have X11 installed.
  2. Download the X2Go disk image from the X2Go website. You can find a link to the DMG, here.
  3. Double-click on the DMG to open it, then drag the X2Go application into your Applications folder.

If you are running OS X 10.7.5 (Lion) or later, you will need to disable Gatekeeper to run the application. The easiest way to do this is control-click on the X2Go application and choose "Open". You'll only need to do this once. More information about Gatekeeper can be found on Apple's website.

X2Go on Windows

The Windows version of X2Go includes an X11 server, so you just need to install the application. Notes about installation can be found here.

  1. Download the X2Go client from the X2Go website. You can find a link to the client installer, here.

X2Go on Linux

Your install will depend on the flavor of Linux you are running.

  • For Ubuntu 12.04 or later, X2Go is included in the Ubuntu repo. Try either apt-get install x2goclient or aptitude install x2goclient.
  • For RedHat/CentOS, you'll need to add the EPEL repo, then you can install X2Go with yum install x2goclient.

Instructions for installing X2Go on other popular Linux flavors is located here.

Using X2Go

The X2Go client works the same way across platforms, so once you have X2Go installed, you can just open it and connect. I recommend setting up a new session for easy access in the future. Here's how:

  1. Open X2Go. If this is your first time running it, you will get a New Session window automatically. If not, go to the Session menu and choose "New Session..."
  2. In the New Session window, fill out the following:
    • Give your session a name, like "Unix Timeshare".
    • For the Server Host, use: unix.ucsc.edu
    • For the Server Login, use your CruzID (the first part of your email address). So, if your email is sammyslug@ucsc.edu, your CruzID would be sammyslug.
    • The SSH port should be 22
    • I recommend changing the Session Type to GNOME, but feel free to change it if you have a preference.
  3. At the top of the screen, change to the Connection tab. If you are using X2Go off campus, I recommend leaving this at ADSL. If you are on campus, you can change this to LAN.
  4. The Settings and Shared Folders tabs don't need any changes. Feel free to explore them just so you have some ideas of what X2Go can do.

X2Go New Session Window

When your session looks good, click on the "OK" button to save it. On the main screen, you can see your saved Sessions on the right hand side. Click on the little downward arrow and select "Session preferences..." if you ever need to tweak anything.

X2Go Client Window

To connect to the Timeshare using your saved session:

  1. Click on the session you created. You should see a Login/Password prompt.
  2. Your Login name should be filled in with your CruzID. Just enter your CruzID password and click Okay.
    • After a few seconds, you may get a "This server is unknown" message. If this is the first time connecting to the Timeshare using X2Go from this computer, then this is normal. The Timeshare is just indentifying itself as a new host. Click "Yes" to proceed.
  3. Your desktop should then appear, ready to go.
  4. When you're done, you can logout by going to the CentOS menu and selecting "Log Out..."

Other X2Go information

X2Go offers remote printing and audio support. Any sounds being played on the Timeshare will be re-routed to your local computer speakers. Anything you print from the Timeshare will be routed to a local printer. You can also set up a shared folder on your local workstation that will appear on the Timeshare. This makes it easy to transfer files back and forth. You are on your own for setting up these extra features, but there is some documentation on the X2Go website.