Here are the three steps that I run VNC at my home.

1. Your Linux system might already have the software installed (type “which vncpasswd” to tell). If not, download the software from, and install it on your Linux and windows, respectively.

2. Launch from the server side (Linux)
$ vncpasswd
$ vncserver

3. Lanuch from the client (windows)
when prompted the server name, type linux_host_name:1, where linux_host_name is your linux box name and 1 is the port number for the vncserver, which could be a different port number sometime (you can tell it from the “vncserver” output at the previous step).

4. set kde

$ vi .vnc/xstartup

twm &
startkde &


1) make sure ssh and rsync are installed on both computers

2) at the visitor machine’s shell window, type the following command
$ cd /root/.ssh
$ ssh-keygen -t dsa -b 1024 -f visitor_machine_key

enter a BLANK passphrase

3) generate a file called “config” in the visitor machine under /root/.ssh/ with options like these
Host remote_host_machine
User root
Compression yes
Protocol 2
RSAAuthentication yes
StrictHostKeyChecking no
ForwardAgent yes
ForwardX11 yes
IdentityFile /root/.ssh/visitor_machine_key

4) Copy the /root/.ssh/ file and paste the file in or
at the end of the remote host machine’s file /root/.ssh/authorized_keys2

Samba set up

  • Linux side:
  • Started with the initial Samba configuration file /etc/samba/smb.conf, here are a few important lines that I modified or turned on:

    workgroup = workgroup #change workgroup to my own home network name here

    security = share # I need to include printer, and found security=user could add complexity to an occasional guest computers.

    encrypt password = YES
    samba password file =/etc/samba/smbpasswd

    Then I add my username to my samba password file
    $ smbpasswd -a myusername

    Restart the samba daemon
    $ /etc/init.d/smb restart

    Turn off the firewall:
    $ /etc/init.d/iptables stop

    In fact, one just needs to open a few ports instead of turning off the entire firewall, but here is just a simple solution if the computers are safely isolated from the internet by a router.

  • windows side
  • Click “My Network Places” -> “Set up a home or small office network”, and a set up window will appear. Just go through the rest steps following the question in the window. An early mistake that I’ve ever made before is when it asked “Select the statement that best describe the computer”, I chose the first one, i.e., directly connect to the network. In fact, the correct one shoud be the second, i.e., the computer is connected to another computer or gateway in my case, because indeed my computer is connected to my wireless router, which effectively is a small computer.

    Finally, clicking “My Network Places” will show the samba server. Clicking the server will prompt you a username and password, which is the username and password that you added in the previous Linux side step.

    I was also trying to set up access of my Linux machine to the Windows machine, but found XP SP2 firewall is blocking access. So I didn’t bother to try more.

    Here is the final set up (output of testparm)

    # Global parameters
    workgroup = HOLLYWOOD
    server string = Samba Server
    security = SHARE
    log file = /var/log/samba/%m.log
    max log size = 50
    socket options = TCP_NODELAY SO_RCVBUF=8192 SO_SNDBUF=8192
    printcap name = /etc/printcap
    dns proxy = No
    idmap uid = 16777216-33554431
    idmap gid = 16777216-33554431
    cups options = raw

    comment = Home Directories
    read only = No
    browseable = No

    comment = All Printers
    path = /var/spool/samba
    guest ok = Yes
    printable = Yes
    browseable = No