Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Connecting to my linux box at home...anybody?

One thing I'd like to be able to do is connect to my home machine from work. I'm running Linux at home (Ubuntu Dapper) and would love to be able to access my files from here at work. Unfortunately my work machine is XP-Pro, can't change that. But I am using Cygwin to achieve some command line goodness here at work.

I'm a relative newbie to linux and I know relatively little about remote computing. Can anybody point me to some good information on how to do this? I know it would involve ssh and some other things but I'm completely at a loss as to how to set it up. If you know of any good guides aimed at newbies like me I'd really appreciate it. Email me (rfquerinATgmail.com) or leave a comment.


Earl Moore said...

Hi Richard,

I've done what you described with WinXP and Mac OSX. There's a couple of things to consider.

1. Do you have a fixed external (Internet) IP address? If not, then you will need to use a service such as dyndns.org or no-ip.org so you can find your home computer when your ISP changes your IP address (if it's a dynamic address then it's routinely selected from a pool of addresses assigned to the ISP.)
2. To get from the Internet to your home computer will require you to open at least one port on your firewall/router and point it to your computers internal IP address. This can be a security concern.
3. You must decide if you want to just transfer files or to be able to access your desktop and computer remotely. If you only want to transfer files you can enable FTP functions on you home computer and transfer files using you home comptuer as a FTP server. If you want remote desktop functions then something like VNC might be the way to go. VNC is available for about any platform/OS.
4. All of the above options are available open source or free.

Some things to think about and research. There may well be some other options with Linux that I don't know of.

PS: There are more secure options (VPN/SSH) but then you start talking about cost.

RichardQuerin said...

Thanks for the useful comments Earl. I hadn't thought of ftp, but that may be exactly what I'm looking for. I'm assuming #1 would still be required (I don't have a fixed IP at home) for setting up an FTP server.

Earl Moore said...

Yes #1 would be required probably for any solution. By using one of these services you can simply locate your home computer by using DNS and a service provided url like "rquerin.no-ip.org".

I use FTP for my home.