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Port of the week: rdesktop

Written by Solène, on 20 May 2016.
Tags: #portoftheweek

Comments on Fediverse/Mastodon

This week we will have a quick look at the tool rdesktop. Rdesktop is a RDP client (RDP stands for Remote Desktop Protocol) which is used to share your desktop with another machine. RDP is a Microsoft thing and it’s most used on Windows.

I am personally using it because sometimes I need to use Microsoft Word/Excel or Windows only software and I have a dedidated virtual machine for this. So I use rdesktop to connect in fullscreen to the virtual machine and I can work on Windows. The RDP protocol is very efficient, on LAN network there is no lag. I appreciate much more using the VM with RDP than VNC.

You can also have RDP servers within virtual machines. VirtualBox let you have (with an additional package to add on the host) RDP server for a VM. Maybe VmWare provides RDP servers too. I know that Xen and KVM can give access through VNC or Spice but no RDP.

For its usage, if you want to connect to a RDP server whose IP address is in fullscreen with max quality, type:

$ rdesktop -f -x 0x80

The -x 0x80 bit is needed to set the quality at maximum. If the machine needs username and password you can add -u my_user -p my_plaintext_pass to login automatically. I have an alias in my zsh shell, I just type “windows” and I get logged in in fullscreen to the windows machine.

To exit fullscreen type ctrl+alt+return to switch to windowed mode and again to go in fullscreen mode. I wasn’t able to remember the keyboard shortcut the first times and was stuck in Windows ! ;-)

In the OpenBSD ports tree, check x11/rdesktop.