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Linux in a Windows World by Roderick W Smith

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Running Windows Programs from Linux

If you are willing to make a monetary investment that will enable your Linux clients to run Windows applications, there are two popular and related methods to consider. Both methods run a Windows desktop session on a server that you connect to and control from a Linux desktop running the appropriate client software. This is similar to VNC on Windows as described in the previous section, but one of the major differences is that multiple Linux desktops, possibly several hundred, can connect to a single Windows server at a time. This is a perfect setup when you want to deploy Linux desktops but still need the ability to run one or more Windows programs in their native form. Nearly all programs should run flawlessly because they really are running on a Windows computer; it’s simply their display output that’s shown on the Linux machine. However, processor or memory-intensive applications should not be run in this fashion because a single program consuming most of the system’s resources may ruin the experience for the users.

The minimum requirement for this kind of setup is a Windows server, preferably Windows Server 2003, that has Terminal Services enabled. Windows 2000 also has this ability built-in, but Windows NT requires the special Terminal Server version. On the Linux side, you can use a program called rdesktop , which speaks Microsoft’s Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP), to connect to the Windows server and run a desktop session. Just like VNC, ...

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