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Using NoMachine with the NX service

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This page explains how to install and configure the NoMachine NX software. It's free and it (mostly) works with the Informatics NX service.

Compatibility

  • We have successfully connected to the Informatics NX service from the NoMachine software on OS X 10.11 (El┬áCapitan), 10.10 (Yosemite) and 10.9 (Mavericks).
  • We have had a report of it working successfully on Windows 8.1 (unlike OpenNX).
  • Version 5.0.47 works with Windows 10 (as of 24/11/2015).
  • In February 2015 we had a report that it does not work with Ubuntu 14.04, and that the NoMachine support forums had no help for this issue.
  • The NoMachine iOS client is not compatible with the Informatics NX service. This is because of iOS limitations: the RSA host key cannot be saved to the local filesystem.
  • If you try the client on another OS, please let us know how you get on. Thanks!

Warning: it's also an NX server

The NoMachine software is not just an NX client: it also contains an NX server. The client will enable use of the Informatics NX service, but the server will make your computer's own desktop available for remote use over the internet. For security we recommend that you disable the server functionality if you do not need it. Instructions for disabling the server are given below.

Installing

First download the software for your device. The NoMachine website provides packages and/or instructions for Mac OS X, Windows, Linux, Android and iOS. The illustrations below are of NoMachine being configured on a Mac. Note that the iOS client cannot be used with the Informatics NX service.

Configuring

Here is a step-by-step guide to the required settings for the NoMachine software:

Step 1: New connection

Start the NoMachine software. If you have previously used another NX client you may find that NoMachine is already configured to connect to the Informatics NX hosts. If not, you will probably see a welcome screen like this:

Failing that, click "New".

Step 2: SSH

Change the Protocol to SSH, then click Continue.

Step 3: hostname

Enter the name of the NX server. Most people will enter nx.inf.ed.ac.uk. Staff, visitors and research postgrads can also choose staff.nx.inf.ed.ac.uk. Having done that, click Continue.

Step 4: Use the NoMachine login

Select "Use the NoMachine login" then click Continue.

Step 5: Download the server key

Switch back to this web browser and download the nxclient keyfile to a file. You should end up with a file called nxclient.id_rsa.key.

Step 6: Install the server key

Switch back to NoMachine. Select "Use an alternate server key" and enter the name and location of the key file which you just downloaded. Having done that, click Continue.

Step 7: Don't use a proxy

Choose "Don't use a proxy" then click Continue.

Step 8: Name

Give a name to your connection. You may want to call it after the NX server, as in the picture below. Finally click Done.

Once the key file has been imported it is no longer required and you must delete it. We may occasionally replace the key, in which case all users will be notified of the need to update their key.

Login

Having configured NoMachine, its window should show you an icon for the connection:

Click this then enter your DICE username and password:

Choose your desktop type (usually GNOME or KDE - but see NX Known Issues) then click Continue. Click through a few informative message screens. Your X login session should now be available to use.

The page NX sessions explains how to logout, and how to deal with suspended sessions.

How to disable the NoMachine server

The NoMachine software, as well as being an NX client, is also an NX server - it serves your local machine's desktop to the internet. You may find this useful, but if not we recommend disabling this functionality. To do that start the NoMachine software then:

  1. Click "Settings":
  2. Click "Connection Preferences":
  3. Change the settings to those illustrated:
Last reviewed: 
20/09/2016

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