Remmina, the last remote desktop client you’ll ever need

I’ve been searching for a good remote desktop client for a long time. My requirements are simple. It must:

  1. save passwords
  2. manage connections via the GUI
  3. support VNC and RDP
  4. work with our IP KVM

This last requirement is the kicker. When I change hosts on our Adderview IP KVM, it draws one frame at 0x0 resolution, and then changes to the resolution of the new host. This has crashed every VNC client I’ve tried except xvnc4viewer. Which of course, doesn’t save passwords or have a GUI (the raw X menu when you press F8 does not count).

I have tried KRDC, Vinagre, xtightvncviewer, and a number of simpler command-line VNC clients. They all seem to be designed to support the “my Mom needs tech support” problem, not the “I manage remote servers” problem. KRDC won’t even login to my KVM; it just hangs after authentication. I suppose that’s better than crashing, but it is still a show stopping bug for me.

Over a year ago, I hacked up a scripted solution involving zenity GTK dialogs, saved password files, and xvnc4viewer, but I’m not going to release that. Instead, meet the last remote desktop client you’ll ever need: Remmina.

Remmina meets all of my requirements, has tons of useful features, and works flawlessly. Not only that, it is extremely responsive. Key presses are limited only by the round-trip time, with no added delay from VNC itself. There are no redrawing or tearing problems. It supports full-screen mode and scrolling inside a view port. It can forward over SSH and will use SSH keys files or your SSH key agent. It can synchronise the clipboard between host and remote server; this is the first time I’ve actually seen that feature work reliably. It can even open a standard SSH or SFTP session, or host a VNC server.

Installation is easy. An older release is available in the Ubuntu Lucid Universe repository, or get the latest version from their PPA.

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  1. cpt0’s avatar

    Very nice to know, especially since i mainly use the Standard remote desktop client that comes on my lucid netbook remix.

    Reply

  2. Tom Purl’s avatar

    Thanks for pointing this out! This is much better than tsclient (at least in my opinion).

    Reply

  3. rich’s avatar

    great but… where are the guidelines on making remmina work? I have googled a lot on this and don’t find sufficient doc to get this to work. I am trying to run remmina client on ubuntu, must connect over SSH, use NAT routing on both the client and server ends, and have vncserver on the server. I can’t get remmina in this config to work.

    regards,
    rich

    Reply

    1. Tyler Wagner’s avatar

      Rich,

      It sounds to me like you have a network problem, not a Remmina problem. I’ve used it for VNC and RDP, including using SSH port forwarding, and it works. For instance:

      1. Add a new connection.
      2. Protocol VNC (not incoming connection)
      3. Set server and password (VNC password)
      4. On SSH tab, enable SSH tunnel, set port if not 22, and SSH authentication

      This works just fine for me.

      Reply

      1. Anuj’s avatar

        Hi Guys,

        I have a following setup and I am not able to reach VNC session via SSH Tunnel, am I doing this right ?

        1. Add a new connection.
        2. Protocol VNC (not incoming connection)
        3. Set server and password (VNC password)
        * Server
        * Repeater
        4. On SSH tab, enable SSH tunnel, set port if not 22, and SSH authentication
        * [x] Enable SSH Tunnel
        * [x] Tunnel via loopback addr.
        * SSH Server, Custom

        So in my case it appears that Remmina is able to ssh into the given ssh server & port, and tries to connect to vncserver & port, but fails.
        Maybe I could not understand how Remmina expects me to configure for my usecase, so I would appreciate your help to have me this client setup working.

        Regards,
        Anuj

        Reply

        1. Anuj’s avatar

          lost some values of my remmina input I shared above in HTML formatting, let me try again, for step 3 above:

          3. Set server and password (VNC password)
          * Server [server1.com:5905]
          * Repeater [empty]

          Note: My VNC server is on the same box where ssh server is but its port is not exposed from firewall. This works fine for me from the ssh tunneling on command line.

          Reply

          1. Anuj’s avatar

            woops lost more into html formatting, so for Step4:

            4. On SSH tab, enable SSH tunnel, set port if not 22, and SSH authentication
            * [x] Enable SSH Tunnel
            * [x] Tunnel via loopback addr.
            * SSH Server, Custom [server1:4045]

            Reply

            1. Anuj’s avatar

              I guess I figured out something, since I also need to use tunnel because I am behind a strict proxy,
              So due to that I am even running remmina from proxychains, and that then fails vnc session to run from localhost as its supposed to be from.
              I am finding how proxychains can ignore particular hosts in meantime :)

              Reply

            2. Tyler Wagner’s avatar

              Hi Anuj,

              It would help if you explained or diagrammed the network path between you and the server. Am I correct in understanding that you need to tunnel directly to the machine on which you will access VNC? Or do you need to first SSH to a router or server behind a firewall, then VNC from there?

              Assuming “server” is the server behind the firewall, and “vnchost” is the VNC server (these can be the same), test the following.

              ssh -L 5900:vnchost:5905 username@server
              Using Remmina or any VNC client, connect to VNC on server “localhost”

              If that works, then you have a good network path that works with SSH port forwards, and can do the same in Remmina. Use:

              Basic tab:
              Protocol: VNC
              Server: “vnchost” above
              Username, Password: [as you know]

              SSH tab:
              [x] Enable SSH tunnel
              [ ] Tunnel via loopback address
              SSH server – custom, “server” as above
              SSH authentication – your login for “server”

              Reply

              1. Anuj’s avatar

                Hi Tyler,

                Sorry for late notice of your response, to be honest, I figured out the problem outside remmina.
                I was using remmina above ‘proxychains’ and in that setup, proxychains would not let remmina reach the tunnel on localhost.

                I could finally resolve this issue by creating a proxychains patch rpm, of an existing localhost exception patch of proxychains.

                Cheers !

                Reply

              2. Ivan’s avatar

                Some Remmina users got a problem with clipboard: copy-paste operations doesnt work properly as like clipboard doesnt sync at all. The solution is to keep tsclient package installed alongside with remmina. I didnt catch what does tsclient package contains for clipboard working, but it solves the problem. Hope that would be helpful.

                Thanks!

                Reply

                1. Tyler Wagner’s avatar

                  It solves the problem in Remmina as well, Ivan? Do you have any links to bug reports about this?

                  Reply

                2. ajian’s avatar

                  I got the problem of remmina clipboard not working in ubuntu,you said “The solution is to keep tsclient package installed alongside with remmina”,but how? Could you show me the detail? like “sudo apt-get install sth. ” etc

                  Reply

                3. Enverex’s avatar

                  Remmina is terrible and anyone that has to use it on a frequent basis will confirm this. It is liable to crash randomly (just disappears in the middle of sessions), has issues with RDP due to key changes and silent failures, etc. Their bug-tracker has simple to fix bugs that have been open for years and the development team either don’t exist or simply don’t fix problems.

                  Unfortunately Linux doesn’t really have anything else similar available.

                  Reply

                  1. Tyler Wagner’s avatar

                    Oh yes, I agree. This post was true when I wrote it. Since Ubuntu 12.04, Remmina has been nothing but trouble. Remote side changes resolutions? Crash. Accessing a KVM over VNC? Crash at least 50% of the time. Copy/paste sync reliably? Good luck.

                    I actually use tight vnc viewer with a password-saving wrapper script now. It’s frustrating.

                    Reply

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