FreeNX is the GPLed variant of NoMachines NX product.

While exporting X-Sessions never has been a problem, it was kind of slow especially on connections with limited bandwidth. NX tries to solve this by using some tricks at the X11-protocol level, a little proxy-server and a big local bitmap cache. They promise fluently working X-Sessions even over a 56K modem.

Well. I have installed KDE and now FreeNX on my Mac Mini, which I bought for the sole purpose of being a little home-server/VPN-Gateway. My NSLU2 while being a really nice little thing, does not work with OpenVPN due to the kernel lacking TUN-support.

Installation was easy and flawless – besides forcing me to forward port 5000 to the NATed mac mini as the commercial (freeware) windows-client seems to have problems with the FreeNX-server when tunneling the X-Session over ssh.

The client works very well too. And I can say: It’s fast. Very, very fast.

Some more things to note about the screenshot:

  • While I usually had the policy to name servers after persons and then locations from “lord of the rings”, I somewhat run out of names, so I began using names from RPGs. My Mac Mini is called Shion, after Shion Uzuki of Xenosaga.
  • I’m running Gentoo, of course.
  • Installing FreeNX is as easy as emerge nxserver-freenx on Gentoo.
  • The screenshot is of a session exported at 800×600 pixels. Using more pixels does not slow down the session siginficantly, but those 800×600 where comfortable to use on my current display so I can have other things besides the session.