Tuesday 28 April 2009

Log Me In Suzy!

Since a few weeks I restarted using Logmein. I'm familiar with this tool since a few years, but since the lack of need I stopped using it.
But it is very handy for remote controlling (Windows) servers over WANs. Solutions like VNC require you to be on the same subnet of the server you want to control. Or you'll have to edit all the routers in between to have the traffic routed correctly.

With Logmein you add computers to your inventory. Doing that will install a set of services on your host that will connect independently to the Logmein servers. Then you'll able to logon to your Logmein-account and navigate to the particular computer you want to control. And then you can click on Remote control, what will open a screen displaying (eventually) your desktop. So no matter where your server is, you can control it. We have some demo/training-pc's and they can be moved by colleagues or taken to a demo or training-event. And like others I have a father and a father-in-law that I support in their computing.

To remotely control pc's with your browser, Logmein has 4 techniques:
  • ActiveX
  • Mozilla (using a Firefox add-on)
  • HTML (sending over bitmaps)
  • Java
I use OpenSuse 11 x86_64. And ActiveX won't work on my machine. There is a Linux Firefox add-on in beta, but it requires a 32-bit Firefox. So also no option to me. HTML is very slow and Java did not work either. So until today I started a windows VM under VMware to use Logmein. But today I reviewed my java-installs on my machine. Just recently Sun released a 64-bit version of the Java 1.6 browser plugin. Before that you needed the OpenJDK browser plugin on 64-bit Linux. Apparently they're not completely compatible. That is, Logmein did not work with OpenJDK. Today I uninstalled OpenJDK. I had allready installed the Sun java plugin but the OpenJDK plugin was preferent. Now Firefox loads the Sun java plugin and with that one Logmein works!

So if you want to control remote windows servers on 64-bit OpenSuse (or another 64-bit Linux) try uninstalling OpenJDK and install the Sun 1.6 JDK or JRE.

Now we wait until Logmein also supports remotely controlling Linux servers...


Richie T said...

I'm using Techinline Remote Desktop (http://www.techinline.com) which I find a lot simpler and more affordable, although not as "feature loaded". LogMeIn is just too expensive for the simple remote support that I do

Martien van den Akker said...

Hi Richie,

Good suggestion. However I think the products differ significantly in how the session is started. With Logmein the server registers itself at Logmein and I only have to logon to the site to take over my server. With Techinline on both computers you have to browse to techinline so that is more suiteable for customer-support.

Logmein has a free-account. And in my opion there is not much as cheap as free... ;)