X2go is a multiplatform ssh x-forwarding server which allows a single linux server to be accessed graphically by many users simultaneously. Science Computing currently uses this technology on a testing basis for research groups and professors.

Getting x2go

To get the x2go client on your computer, you can go to the official x2go website and follow the instructions, or you may follow the following links to directly get a compatable version (The following links are links to installers):

Windows x2go client Version 3.99.3.1-pre1 

Mac OSX x2go client Version 3.99.2.1

Linux users will need to follow the instructions posted on the x2go linux section.

Using x2go

The first time you run x2go after installing, a window will come up to enter information for a connection. Following the next steps will show you how to configure your client to work with Science Computing's x2go Servers.

  • First, enter the connection's name. This can be anything you want, but it should probably be the name of the server you're connecting to.
  • You can change the icon to something other than the adorable baby seal, but everybody loves baby seals, so it is heavily frowned upon to change this icon.
  • Your professor will provide you with the host name of the server. It will be something like "chem440-x.uwaterloo.ca"
  • Your login for these servers is your watIAM account. This is what you use for desire2learn and quest, so enter your watIAM username in the login.
  • For the port, put port 8022. Port 22 will also work, but not from off campus, so it's safer to just put 8022
  • Then, from the "Session Type" dropdown, select XFCE
  • Switch to the connection tab to edit some more stuff...
     

Opening a new X2GO Session

  • In the connection tab, set the compression method to 4k-png. This will give you the most bang for your bandwidth. Do not use high-quality compression (such as 16m-jpeg), as many users require access to this system, and it's very unfair for you to hog it all.
  • Next, open the "Settings" tab. We're almost done

x2go connection settings

  • In the settings tab, set the display to fullscreen (It works in windowed mode, but it can get a bit buggy), and disable sound and printing. You can keep them enabled, but you seriously shouldn't need them.

x2go settings settings

  • After this, hit ok. You should be presented to the following (or very similar) screen:

x2go start screen

  • Click on the little card you've created (or on the baby seal icon if you can't decide where to click), and simply enter your password. Congrats! You're in!
  • If anything went wrong during the process, you can click the little arrow in the bottom right hand corner of the card and edit the settings.

Notes about using x2go (You should read this)

X2go runs the server externally, and many users use it at the same time. Keep this in mind while you use it! Don't go opening chrome and wasting precious cpu and ram that other people could use. While in x2go, focus on your work.

As a special note to mac users, you may need to open your desktop settings once x2go is running, and disable all keyboard shortcuts on the linux system. It seems there is a bug which causes X2GO to think the "super key" is continually pressed.

Running non-work-related stuff can still be done on your system, simply minimize the x2go server!

  • On Windows this can be done with the alt+tab combination.
  • On Mac you have the ability to close it using the top mac menu which seems to never go away
  • On linux you can click in the very top right corner of the screen. (At least, this worked on my system.)

When you're done using the x2go server, don't forget to log out. Logging out can be done by pressing the shortcut on your desktop, or from the menu in the bottom left corner of the desktop. If you do not log out, your session will keep going. By logging back into the server, you will see your old sessions, which you can terminate or continue if you wish. (Try not to leave sessions hanging)

Finally, you can access the x2go server from off-campus locations by using UWaterloo's VPN.