Ubuntu Domain Server

John Moser john.r.moser at gmail.com
Fri Oct 23 14:06:16 UTC 2009

On Thu, Oct 22, 2009 at 8:02 PM, Ryan Dwyer <ryandwyer1 at gmail.com> wrote:
> I don't think there's any use discussing whether we think a GUI or CLI is
> better. Shouldn't we focus on what the typical business wants and what
> they're prepared to use?

This is an easy question.

First off, we need a Windows and Linux tool like Putty for easy X11
forwarding over SSH.  The Windows version needs to bring an X server
of its own (or at least have a fully proper MSI package that you can
publish with it, to give a viable X server).  It could integrate with
Cygwin/X as well or something.

I say "like putty" because the actual application interface is going
to be different.  What you're going to want is a tool that connects
across; discovers a specific set of applications; and gives one-click
access to run them over a compressed X11 session.  It may also be
viable to run a local TightVNC client, spawn a VNC server that exposes
exactly that one X11 app, and send the VNC protocol over that tunnel.
This is equivalent to:

  $ ssh -L 5905:localhost:5905 user at remote_host

and then running the command inside a VNC server on remote_host, on
port 5905.  Obviously, this would require spawning an ADDITIONAL VNC
server on remote_host for each application running, and forwarding an
ADDITIONAL port on the fly (Putty can change configuration on the fly
to forward additional ports or stop forwarding ports).  Simple X11
forwarding is easier, but you don't get PNG and JPEG compression, and
applications tend to be more buggy (consider that if you run
update-manager over X11 forwarding, it just complains that it doesn't
like SSH).

Also it would be nice to be able to spawn a shell at a button-click,
and have GUI commands run to the proper $DISPLAY for X11 forwarding.
Obviously a $DISPLAY that does the whole VNC song and dance above will
require some custom X server magic, or a whole forwarded VNC desktop.
A button that runs a command and automatically sets $DISPLAY to a new
VNC server and does such magic would be feasible.

Anyway.  Once you have this, you have a tool to run remote GUI tools
on the local desktop.  Then you just clone the Active Directory Domain
Administration tools et al.  Mind you, since Active Directory's
effectively LDAP, that particular tool can probably run locally and to
ldaps://; but it'd be easier to just port one little ssh tool than
modify some of the other existing local server administration tools to
compile on Windows and MacOSX and do their administration to remote

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