Splashtop Remote Desktop Product Now Supports Ubuntu

Christopher Tozzi, Contributing Editor

December 4, 2012

2 Min Read
Splashtop Remote Desktop Product Now Supports Ubuntu

If you operate solely in the world of proprietary software, it’s easy to think that Microsoft‘s Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) emerged as the preeminent remote-access solution a long time ago. But in a sign that the battle for this niche is hardly over–and that cross-platform compatibility is key to winning it–Splashtop, an alternative to RDP, recently announced support for Ubuntu Linux in its desktop streaming platform, making it easier to access Ubuntu PCs from anywhere.

RDP, of course, is hardly the only desktop-sharing solution available today. There are plenty of alternatives, such as VNC (which is implemented in a variety of different clients, the most popular being RealVNC and TightVNC) and NoMachine NX. And if you’re a geek, there are lots of other more interesting ways to connect to remote computers, like sharing X11 sessions over SSH.

But in many enterprises, RDP has become the only real game in town for remote access. It’s built into the Windows desktops that employees use, and often also into their PCs at home. And with RDP clients available for all major operating systems, including Linux–and integrated into Canonical‘s Ubuntu Business Remix–the protocol is hard to avoid even for sworn enemies of Microsoft.

Splashnote Streamer for Ubuntu

Splashnote, however, thinks its desktop sharing solution, called Streamer, is better than RDP and other alternatives. Claiming performance superiority of up to 15 times faster video rates frame and 10 times lower latency than its competitors, Splashtop also offers SSL and 256-bit AES encryption, eliminating the security issues that plague some other remote-access products.

And now, Splashtop Streamer–which already worked with Windows, OS X and mobile platforms–supports Ubuntu as well. Beta packages for the product are available in the Ubuntu Software Center, and the company expects them to become particularly popular among the following groups:

  1. Linux system administrators, many of whom use Ubuntu to manage their networks.

  2. Linux gamers, who are overwhelmingly passionate and tech-savvy computer users (and who, according to Splashtop, will benefit from Streamer’s capacity to support streaming of graphics-intensive games over the network).

  3. General desktop and workstation users of Ubuntu who tend to own Android devices and other client platforms supported by Splashtop.

Some Linux fans may be disappointed to learn that Streamer–unlike some implementations of VNC and the open source fork of NoMachine NX, FreeNX–is proprietary. But so is RDP, and the Ubuntu version of Streamer at least offers users the opportunity to hack its configuration file in order to perform more fine-tuning than some competing platforms allow.

In addition, Splashtop’s membership in the Linux Foundation should provide the company with another “in” among Ubuntu users. Canonical may continue for the time being to position RDP as the main remote desktop solution in Ubuntu Business Remix, but the situation may not stay this way forever.

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About the Author(s)

Christopher Tozzi

Contributing Editor

Christopher Tozzi started covering the channel for The VAR Guy on a freelance basis in 2008, with an emphasis on open source, Linux, virtualization, SDN, containers, data storage and related topics. He also teaches history at a major university in Washington, D.C. He occasionally combines these interests by writing about the history of software. His book on this topic, “For Fun and Profit: A History of the Free and Open Source Software Revolution,” is forthcoming with MIT Press.

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