Desktop in the cloud

Registered by Stéphane Graber on 2009-11-09

With the past two releases we have seen an increasing interest in cloud technologies.
Something that'd be interesting for several reasons is having a desktop in the cloud.

It's already possible (but not supported) using EC2 (or anything similar) and technologies such as NX (freenx or neatx on the server side) to access the remote environment.

A few of the reasons why desktop in the cloud is interesting:
 - Remote access from anywhere and any OS to an Ubuntu environment
 - We can easily (check LTSP !!) put up to 100 users on the same server/VM
 - Can be used for desktop/usability/feature testing
 - Integration with Ubuntu ONE would make sure your data is always there.

This discussion would be about discussing the various technologies available, the work that would need to be done and the kind of integration we want with the desktop.

Blueprint information

Status:
Complete
Approver:
Martin Pitt
Priority:
Low
Drafter:
Rick Spencer
Direction:
Needs approval
Assignee:
Rick Spencer
Definition:
Approved
Series goal:
Accepted for lucid
Implementation:
Implemented
Milestone target:
milestone icon lucid-alpha-2
Started by
Rick Spencer on 2009-12-14
Completed by
Martin Pitt on 2010-02-18

Related branches

Sprints

Whiteboard

pitti, 2009-12-10: Scott, will that need an NX server in main, or is that outside of the images? (I don't think there's any right now which we can support). -- Discussed on IRC, can use an NX server from a PPA (it's not an offiicial image). Approved.

Will also cover testdrive as part of this spec.

[rickspencer3 2009-12-14] Implementation notes from smoser:
 * download an NX client to your local system. The 2 clients available are
  "qtnx" (in universe) and the commercial NX client [1].
 * launch an ec2 instance. To do this you have to have a ec2 account set
  up [2]. Then, get the AMI id of the machine image you want to start.
  You can get that from the table at [3]. Launch the image either via the
  AWS interface or the command line. Make sure you give the instance your
  key, or you will not be able to reach it.
 * ssh to the instance as 'ubuntu' user
  set the 'ubuntu' user password (required for the nx server)
 * Launch nx client and point it at your new instance.
  Cross you fingers. I had initial problems with the qtnx client. It
  spun but but nothing really happened. Everything "just worked" with the
  commercial client.

[1] http://www.nomachine.com/download-client-linux.php
[2] https://help.ubuntu.com/community/EC2StartersGuide
[3] http://uec-images.ubuntu.com/desktop/lucid/current/

[rick-rickspencer3] Looks like for the time being the commercial nx client is the only workable choice :(

Status:
(not updated yet)

Work items:
[smoser] support multiple types (-server, -desktop) in uec build scripts (automated-ec2-builds): DONE
[smoser] support different partition sizes per 'build-type' in automated-ec2-builds: DONE
[smoser] get desktop ec2 build going (sans nx): DONE
[rick-rickspencer3] choose nx server and client: DONE
[smoser] add chosen nx server to images: DONE

Work items (lucid-alpha-3):
[rick-rickspencer3] Complete testdrive gtk cilent: DROPPED
[smoser] support multiple types in cdimage scripts (make-web-indices ...): DROPPED

(?)

Work Items