First Steps – Work from Home

So the first thing I did with my machine is configure it to allow me to work from home. My work environment is a Windows desktop within an Active Directory domain at a large organization. From there, I typically use PuTTy to connect to server systems.

I use the the xfreerdp package included with Fedora 20 to leverage the RDP protcol (Remote Desktop for Windows) and connect to my Windows workstation once I’m on my workplace VPN (which is fortunately web-based and supports Firefox).  I can also connect to my other Linux machine (CentOS on a converted HP MediaSmart EX495 which used to serve as my WHS v1 home server) and Windows machines (8.1, 7, WHS 2011).  Unlike rdesktop (which is otherwise nice enough), xfreerdp supports Network-Level Authentication (required by default for RDP access to Windows 7 and 8.1).  It seemed rdesktop might have this capability, or may be developing it, but I could not get it to function properly, and xfreerdp functions properly without special configuration.

Workspaces really help to keep RDP sessions available in a fluid way.  Additionally, it’s much nicer to use the Konsole to connect to my servers, I have to say. Copy and paste is easier and more robust than PuTTY (though the latter isn’t terrible), and tabs make for easy console management.

Aside: If you don’t know it already, I highly suggest using tmux, a terminal multiplexer. It’s available in the default Fedora repositories as well. If you spend a significant amount of time at the command line, having the ability to display two consoles side-by-side in the same window is very helpful. You can also use it to share SSH sessions between logged-in users, and that’s nice for collaboration where you don’t want to be stuck sharing a PuTTy terminal over WebEX or something.

That’s basically it for my work setup. I loved Empathy with GNOME, but I have since unfortunately had to switch to KDE since the AMD Catalyst drivers for my APU conflict with the Wayland support being built into GNOME.  Hopefully that will be remedied (if it has not already been done).  I miss GNOME (though KDE Plasmoids are pretty sweet)!

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