Remote access to Linux machines

Full desktops or applications

If you have your own linux workstation or desktop, X2Go can be used by you at anypoint to remotely connect to your own desktop at CLASSE. If you want to allow other users to connect to your desktop, both X2Go and Zoom can be used and require you to be present to initiate or approve the remote connection.


X2Go is recommended for creating new desktops, remotely controlling the linux desktop at CLASSE, and remotely launching individual X applications. Please see X2Go for detailed instructions.

If you are using X2Go to control a remote desktop and your monitor is smaller than the remote desktop's monitor (or you have fewer monitors than the remote desktop), then ZoomRemoteControl will probably work better.


Zoom can also be used to remotely control a linux desktop at CLASSE, and based on your requirements, may be a better fit than X2Go. In particular, if any of the following are important to you, please see ZoomRemoteControl. .
  • able to grant either full control, or view only control
  • able to pause desktop sharing without disconnecting remote user.
  • able to share an individual application window, or just one desktop or monitor
  • integrated audio and video feed.

VNC (Virtual Network Computing) (Prior to 7/29/2014)

Most X applications (such as matlab, total view, etc.) generate a large amount of X traffic. This can be very slow when tunneled through ssh to machines off of CLASSE's network. In addition to using X2Go, another option is to start a VNC server on the remote system (where your program will be running) and connect to it using a VNC client on the computer you're sitting in front of. For the client, CLASSE recommends TigerVNC, a free cross-platform VNC viewer. It is available for Windows, OS X, and Linux from http://www.tigervnc.org/

For more information on starting and using a VNC server to remotely access the desktop of your personal linux workstation, please see VirtualNetworkComputing .

Remote terminal access


You can generally ssh into any public Linux machine at CLASSE (such as lnx201.classe.cornell.edu) by typing

ssh <username>@lnx201.classe.cornell.edu

on Linux or Mac OS.

If you're running an X server on your local machine and have your display set correctly, you can also tunnel X through ssh to remotely run X applications.
  1. Make sure your X server is working locally by testing a program such as xterm, xclock, or xeyes.
  2. Log into the remote linux machine and tunnel X through ssh using, for example,
ssh -Y <username>@lnx201.classe.cornell.edu

CLASSE Windows computers are preconfigured to use Xming to provide an Xwindows display through PuTTY's ssh connection. For more information, see ConnectingToALinuxMachineFromWindows

If you encounter the error below, please follow the instructions at ClasseAuthentication
Permission denied (publickey,gssapi-keyex,gssapi-with-mic,password).

Remote file copy


For secure file transfers using SFTP from a Linux or macOS terminal window:
sftp <username>@lnx201.classe.cornell.edu
[type in your CLASSE password when prompted]
cd <target directory>
ls  [to see the directory contents]
get <filename>  [to transfer a file from CLASSE to your local computer]
put <filename>  [to transfer a file from your local computer to CLASSE]


For secure file transfers using SCP from a Linux or macOS terminal window:
scp <username>@lnx201.classe.cornell.edu:<target directory>/<filename> .
[type in your CLASSE password when prompted]
Topic revision: r41 - 26 Jul 2020, WernerSun
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