The 5 Finest Distant Desktop Shoppers for Linux

Do you want to control a computer that you do not have physical access to? Perhaps you are assisting a non-tech friend with their computer through voice calls and want more control over their system.

The solution to all of these problems is a remote desktop client. Linux has a variety of free and open source remote desktop apps that you can use to connect and efficiently access a remote computer. But which one works best and has superior functionality than the others? Let's find out.

Not only Linux, but TeamViewer is also the first choice for a remote desktop client for Windows and macOS users. At first glance, you'll find that the app's user interface is easy to understand, with different sections categorizing the options available.

With two different licenses to choose from (home and business), TeamViewer offers its users a wide variety of features including remote control access, file transfer and text chat support.

To connect to a remote computer, simply enter the partner ID of the other system, select the type of connection –remote control or File transfer– and click associate. TeamViewer secures its connections with passwords and asks you for one before the connection is established.

If you want someone to access your device, let them know your ID and password, which will appear under the Allow remote control Section and ask them to send a connection request.

TeamViewer is available for most Linux distributions and you can install it on your computer for free.

If you're running Arch Linux, you can get TeamViewer from the AUR with yay.

yay -S teamviewer

Remmina may seem unattractive at first glance with its simple appearance and complicated operation, but the underlying features it offers are a total game changer. Remmina allows you to connect to other remote systems using various protocols such as SSH, VNC, RDP, FTP and more.

In all fairness, Remmina isn't as simple as TeamViewer, but in defense it's not for users looking for an engaging user interface. The only thing that matters – it does its job well. Unlike other easy-to-use remote desktop apps, you need to set up a VNC server on the remote computer first and only then can you access the system using Remmina.

To add a connection, click the Add to Button in the upper left corner of the window. Then choose your preferred remote control protocol (in this case VNC) and fill in the rest of the details like server address, username, password etc. As soon as you click on associate, the app opens a new window with the desktop of the remote system.

Remmina is available in most Linux distribution repositories and can be installed using the standard package manager. If your system supports snap packages, you can install Remmina with the following command:

sudo snap install remmina

Note that the basic installation of Remmina does not contain the protocol plugins. Therefore, you have to install it manually afterwards. For VNC support, install the libvncserver Package on Arch-based distributions and remmina-plugin-vnc Package on Ubuntu and Debian-based distributions.

If you've used TeamViewer before, you'll likely find NoMachine better than the other apps on this list. Mainly because they both look and feel similar.

In contrast to TeamViewer, however, you do not use the user name and password for the connection. Instead, users have to manually add a connection and NoMachine will automatically save the connection details for future reference.

With NoMachine you can choose between three different protocols for your connections, namely NX (direct connection via the Internet), SSH (secure shell connection) and HTTPS (secure connection via a web browser).

To add a connection, click the Add to and enter the server address next to the host Label. Then give your connection a name and port details. Next, select the protocol from the drop-down menu and click associate.

To install NoMachine, you will need to download the latest package archive from the website and manually install it on your computer.

Download: No machine

note: If you are using Arch Linux, you can easily download NoMachine with an AUR helper like yay.

Imagine a variant of Remmina that only supports VNC connections and nothing else. A minimalist and easy to use VNC viewer that just gets the job done. This is TigerVNC for you.

When you launch the app, you can quickly find that there isn't much to see or do. You get a text box for the VNC server address and some classic buttons for making connections and settings.

TigerVNC allows you to configure the settings that you access by clicking. can access Options. If you want to use the same settings again, you can too Save on computer the configuration as a file. You can then load the file whenever you want to use the saved configuration and TigerVNC will automatically make changes to the settings.

To install TigerVNC on Ubuntu and Debian based systems:

sudo apt install tigervnc

On Arch-based distributions:

sudo pacman -S tigervnc

Install TigerVNC on Fedora and CentOS with:

sudo dnf install tigervnc

Last but not least, RealVNC's VNC Viewer has everything you need for a remote desktop client. Its simple but eye-catching user interface in combination with the broad catalog of functions offers a breathtaking (not literally) user experience.

Although the VNC Connect software suite offered by RealVNC is paid software, you can still download the free version of VNC Viewer from the official website. There are two plans to choose from: Professional and Enterprise. Both subscriptions offer similar functionality and are "per device" which means you will have to purchase the plan again to add a new device.

Installation of the application is easy. All you have to do is download the VNC Viewer package from the link below and grant executable permissions to the file. Then just double-click the file to launch VNC Viewer.

When you start the app you will see a minimal layout with a dedicated field for entering the host address. To connect to a remote system, enter the address and press Enter to establish the connection.

Download: RealVNC VNC viewer

Remote computing on Linux made easier

Remote desktop clients make it easy to connect to a system on the other side of the world. With the advent of the internet and software development, remote computing has grown many times over and has reached an age where working remotely has become the norm.

Aren't you using Linux as your everyday driver? No problem. Several remote desktop clients are available for other operating systems such as Windows and macOS.

Top 10 remote access software to control your Windows PC from anywhere

What to do if you need to work on the same computer across multiple locations? Use this remote access software to connect to another PC from anywhere.

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About the author

Deepesh Sharma
(88 published articles)

Deepesh is Junior Editor for Linux at MUO. He writes informational guides on Linux with the aim of providing a blissful experience for all newbies. I'm not sure about movies, but if you want to talk about technology, he's your man. In his spare time he can be found reading books, listening to different genres of music, or playing guitar.

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