Accessing Linux Applications From Within MS Windows

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Accessing Linux Applications From Within MS Windows

Postposted on Wed Sep 26, 2012 3:53 pm

Interesting project, trying to figure out the best way (for users) to access a Linux application (made in house) from within Windows. My initial thought is to use:
  • X forwarding in PuTTY
  • VNC
Problem with my ideas above... they don't appear to be simple. For example, having to enter a username & password every time they want to run the application isn't user friendly. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
malebolgia
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Re: Accessing Linux Applications From Within MS Windows

Postposted on Wed Sep 26, 2012 3:57 pm

VM?
UberGerbil
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Re: Accessing Linux Applications From Within MS Windows

Postposted on Wed Sep 26, 2012 4:02 pm

UberGerbil wrote:VM?

Maybe, the application can use a good amount of resources. If their end system is beefy enough they might not notice.
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Re: Accessing Linux Applications From Within MS Windows

Postposted on Wed Sep 26, 2012 5:36 pm

There is a POSIX compatibility layer which might work for some apps. And it's also available on Win Pro versions if I'm not mistaken.

Never tried it though...
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Re: Accessing Linux Applications From Within MS Windows

Postposted on Wed Sep 26, 2012 7:15 pm

Cygwin? Need to know more about your application. How does a user with a Linux desktop run/use it?
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Re: Accessing Linux Applications From Within MS Windows

Postposted on Wed Sep 26, 2012 7:55 pm

Depending on which APIs it uses, yeah, porting it to Cygwin might be an option, or if it's written in GTK+ or QT maybe even a straight port to Windows. Cyg's got an X server as well.

That'd be a lot more involved than slapping it into a VM, though.
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Re: Accessing Linux Applications From Within MS Windows

Postposted on Wed Sep 26, 2012 8:05 pm

You can do the X forwarding with PuTTY and do SSH public key authentication based logins to avoid the username/password prompt.
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Re: Accessing Linux Applications From Within MS Windows

Postposted on Wed Sep 26, 2012 9:45 pm

notfred wrote:You can do the X forwarding with PuTTY and do SSH public key authentication based logins to avoid the username/password prompt.


You still have to have an X Server running on the Windows system though. This will require either cygwin or a commerical X server.

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Re: Accessing Linux Applications From Within MS Windows

Postposted on Thu Sep 27, 2012 10:13 am

Xming is separate from cygwin. (http://www.straightrunning.com/XmingNotes/) It comes with cygwin, but you don't have to have cygwin to run it.

Checking out NoMachine would be a good place to start. (http://www.nomachine.com/features.php) They advertise NX can "seamlessly integrate single X11 applications with the native client desktop", and if you buy a high enough version it can integrate with AD.

Then there is enabling XDMCP and having the Linux box authenticate against AD after joining it to the domain. XDMCP isn't secure, and it's bandwidth heavy, but if you're just using it internally, it could be a solution.
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Re: Accessing Linux Applications From Within MS Windows

Postposted on Thu Oct 25, 2012 4:40 am

You could set up passwordless SSH for putty.

I was able to set it up in a few minutes using this tutorial (you can skip the pageant step).
http://www.dailyiteration.com/howto-pas ... ith-putty/

To the saved session you create in the above tutorial, also, turn on x11 forwarding, and set the "remote command" field in putty to be the command to start your x11 app. Your app can now be accessed from a Windows shortcut to "putty -load <session name>". No typing required, at all. I tested this a minute ago using "xcalc" as my remote x11 app. Double click a windows shortcut and I've got a x11 app running off a remote client.

Downside to this is that you'll have to do a one time setup of putty and the public key stuff on each machine. Depending on how secure things need to be, you may also need to set up an account for each user on your Linux box.

Sorry if the above is a bit incoherent and rambly... Not usually awake at this time.
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Re: Accessing Linux Applications From Within MS Windows

Postposted on Thu Oct 25, 2012 8:50 am

X forwarding over PuTTY (or OpenSSH, if you install Cygwin) with public key authentication is probably your best bet.

I assume the application already exists? (If starting from scratch I'd suggest doing it as a web-based app, that way users could just use a web browser...)
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Re: Accessing Linux Applications From Within MS Windows

Postposted on Thu Oct 25, 2012 11:00 am

Something else you might look into is Mobaxterm (http://mobaxterm.mobatek.net/download.html). It's a self-contained cygwin-type environement. It is just an .exe that has Xorg, OpenSSH, and many other tools built in. If you buy a professional license, you'll get a customizer that will let you create a tailored version of Mobaxterm.

I'm not sure how well the customizer works since I don't have a professional license, but that could solve deployment headaches.
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Re: Accessing Linux Applications From Within MS Windows

Postposted on Tue Oct 30, 2012 4:30 pm

just brew it! wrote:X forwarding over PuTTY (or OpenSSH, if you install Cygwin) with public key authentication is probably your best bet.

I assume the application already exists? (If starting from scratch I'd suggest doing it as a web-based app, that way users could just use a web browser...)

Yes, the group is creating a web-based app. Unfortunately, there's no telling when that will be ready for the general users. When the group gets back from their conference I'll probably start testing more with X forwarding & PuTTY.
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Re: Accessing Linux Applications From Within MS Windows

Postposted on Tue Oct 30, 2012 4:31 pm

Flatland_Spider wrote:Something else you might look into is Mobaxterm (http://mobaxterm.mobatek.net/download.html). It's a self-contained cygwin-type environement. It is just an .exe that has Xorg, OpenSSH, and many other tools built in. If you buy a professional license, you'll get a customizer that will let you create a tailored version of Mobaxterm.

I'm not sure how well the customizer works since I don't have a professional license, but that could solve deployment headaches.

I'll check it out, thanks!

And a big thanks to everyone who's been posting here. All these suggestion's have really helped get me thinking in new directions.
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Re: Accessing Linux Applications From Within MS Windows

Postposted on Wed Oct 31, 2012 1:50 am

Just my $0.02, but I far prefer VNC to X tunneling. X tunnels always feel a bit laggy to me.

... and X-tunnelled emacs looks crappy on my work machine, but that's probably not universal :).
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Re: Accessing Linux Applications From Within MS Windows

Postposted on Wed Oct 31, 2012 2:19 am

PrecambrianRabbit wrote:Just my $0.02, but I far prefer VNC to X tunneling. X tunnels always feel a bit laggy to me.

They can be, especially if running over the Internet. Should be fine on a LAN though. (I guess we don't know whether that's the case or not here, I was assuming the app was running on a local server.)

The downside of using VNC for something like this is that it'll be a bit more work to set up the multiple headless VNC sessions on the server. It's a bit more resource intensive as well, since each user has their own virtual desktop running on the server instead of just the app (though this may not be an issue if the number of users is small).

PrecambrianRabbit wrote:... and X-tunnelled emacs looks crappy on my work machine, but that's probably not universal :).

Probably some sort of font mapping issue...
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