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[How-To] Using your desktop via N900 with PresenceVNC

24 February 2012Entry by

Ever wanted to control your desktop computer right from your N900’s screen? This post will show you how to do that using PresenceVNC.

This guide is for *nix (GNU/Linux, BSD, Solaris, MacOS) users. Windows users can look up a guide on setting up VNC online and try the same, by connecting to their PC directly, however, without ssh this will be much less secure.

First of all, fetch PresenceVNC from your N900:

sudo gainroot

sudo apt-get install presencevnc

Get openssh too, if you don’t have it:

apt-get install openssh

Now, on your PC you’ll need to generate an SSH key (again, if you don’t have it yet):

ssh-keygen -t dsa

This will create a file ~/.ssh/id_dsa.pub

You will have to drop this file into the same directory from your PC to the N900, you can use file sharing sites, USB, ssh, whatever you want for that.

Verify that you have the SSH server running on your PC, try to SSH into it:

ssh <user>@<ip_address>

Repalce <user> with your username on the PC and <ip_address> with your PC’s IP address. If you don’t know it, use sites like this one. If your PC and the N900 are connected to the same network, you can usually try the local address, 192.168.1.33 or 192.168.1.34. It should ask you to verify the key (type ‘yes’) and your PC’s password. IF it doesn’t then it’s likely your 22nd port is closed, use tools like iptables or Firestarter to open it.

You will also need x11vnc to start the server, look it up in your distro’s repositories.

Once that is set up, open up your N900’s terminal and connect to your PC with the following command:

ssh -C -L 5900:localhost:5900 <user>@<ip_address>

And start the server (yes, right from your N900)

x11vnc -ncache 10 -display :0

Now, just open up PresenceVNC (don’t quit the terminal!) and connect to localhost:0¬†Watch in amazement as your PC is fully controlled through your N900.

On the screenshot below you can see IceCat opened on my ArchLinux desktop’s StumpWM:

Enjoy!

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