RT Cunningham

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Remmina and xrdp instead of VNC and X2Go

Tagged with firewall, laptop computer, linux, raspberry pi, rdp, remmina, rsync, ssh, trim, vnc, x2go on May 22, 2024

Remmina and xrdp I’m always looking for ways to make things easier, especially when working with a remote computer. I installed xrdp on the Raspberry Pi 400 (“Pi” for short) and Remmina on my laptop computer (which will also be installed on the Mini PC I recently ordered). There’s an issue I resolved with Remmina, of course, or I wouldn’t be using it. VNC and X2Go have issues that I don’t want to resolve.

Headless Operation

The goal is to have only two things plugged into the back of the Pi: The power supply, obviously, and a USB hub. The SSD is plugged into the hub. VNC requires a display. X2Go only works right with the Xfce desktop environment. I want to use the Cinnamon desktop environment and Remmina lets me.

I don’t know why, and searching various forums hasn’t revealed the reason to me, but… Remmina will connect to the first non-root user on the Pi, but it will only display a black screen. I created a second user on the Pi, and it displays perfectly fine when I connect to the Pi with that user.

I can’t connect to either user if I’m already logged in as that user. So, I can connect to the first user through SSH and the second user through RDP, remaining connected to each of them at the same time.

(June 2024 update: On this SSD, I had installed Raspberry Pi OS Lite (no desktop) and then installed the Cinnamon desktop. I found out, a fluke really, that the lightdm.conf file didn’t specify a desktop environment. Once I corrected that situation, Remmina worked for the default user, so I was able to delete the second user.)

Using Remmina

Before I started using Remmina instead of the physical display, I had to make sure everything worked as I intended. I had started with a fresh installation of Raspberry OS Lite (no desktop environment), installing the Cinnamon desktop environment on top of it (sudo apt install cinnamon). I didn’t display it, though, because I wanted to use the Pi headless.

I was pleasantly surprised when the Cinnamon desktop environment eventually appeared in the Remmina window on my laptop computer screen. In all honesty, I didn’t think it would work. I tried other remote clients and they didn’t work at all.

I didn’t need the display to set up anything, using an SSH connection until I was finished. The list of things I had to accomplish:

I’ve written about all of them in one previous article or another.

Image by Remmina App authors, Antenore Gatta, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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