XRDP – How to install XRDP on Ubuntu 16.04 – Easy Way

XRDP_U1604

 

Important Note :

If you want to use xRDP in conjunction with the Unity Desktop interface, please check the following post : XRDP – How To Remote Connect to Unity Desktop on Ubuntu 16.04

 

Hello World,

In our previous post, we have quickly provided a step by step instructions on how to perform a fresh installation of Ubuntu 16.04. If you are working with Ubuntu since a long time, you know that no major changes have been introduced in the setup process and wizard.  It’s quite straightforward.

xrdp is a great solution when you need to have coexistence between Windows machines and Linux machine.  xrdp is basically a piece of software that allows you to remote desktop into your Ubuntu machine from a Windows computer.  On the Windows machine, you do not need to install any tools, you simply use the standard and builtin tool Remote Desktop Connection.

In the past, we have described how to install xrdp on the previous releases of Ubuntu( 15.10,15.04,14.10,14.04,..).  The process described to install xrdp on Ubuntu 16.04 is exactly the same as the one described for machines running Ubuntu 15.10. So, instead of going really deep into details, we will provide hereafter the necessary steps needs to be performed in order to have xrdp installed on your system.

So, let’s go

Standard XRDP installation on Ubuntu 16.04

Assumptions

For this post, we have make some assumptions.

  • Ubuntu 16.04 (Final Release version) is used
  • The Mate-desktop will be installed on the machine (as alternative desktop environment)
  • We will configure our system to match on localized version (i.e. we are using a Belgian french keyboard)
  • Since Ubuntu 15.04, upstart has been replaced by systemd component. The systemd component is used in our scenario
  • No additional configuration is needed to reconnect to the same session if you are using the latest version of the xrdp package found in the Ubuntu Repository

Installation Process 

Step 1 – Install XRDP Package from Ubuntu Repository

A standard installation for us means that we will be using the xrdp package available within the Ubuntu repository. To install the xrdp software from Ubuntu repository, you will need to issue the following command in a terminal.

sudo apt-get install xrdp

Because of the sudo command, you will be prompted for a password. After entering your password, you will be asked to confirm your action by pressing Y (see screenshot below)

U16_Xrdp_1

Click on picture for better resolution

Step 2 – Install an alternative Desktop 

xrdp and Unity desktop (or Gnome 3) are not working well together.  If you do not install another desktop environment, when you will try to connect to your Ubuntu machine, you will see only a gray screen.  The workaround to this situation is to install an alternate desktop that can work with xrdp software solution.

Our preferred desktop alternative is Mate-Desktop.  This post will show you how to install the Mate-Desktop and have it working with the xrdp software solution.

To install the Mate-desktop, issue the following command from the Terminal Session

sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get install mate-core mate-desktop-environment mate-notification-daemon

Note :

Desktop interface such as xfce, LXDE,LXQT, KDE  are all potential candidates.  Check the following links for more information and installation and configuration procedures

 

Step 3 – Configuring xRDP to use your desktop environment

At this stage, we need to configure our system in order to tell xrdp that an alternate desktop needs to be used.  In our case, we have to tell xrdp that we want to use Mate-Desktop as alternate desktop. With the previous version of Ubuntu, you would need to create the ~/.xsession file.  In Ubuntu 16.04, it seems that this approach is not working anymore.  We need to configure the system differently when working with Ubuntu 16.04

Starting the alternate desktop environment 

Important Note : 

In our scenario, we have installed mate-desktop, If you have installed another Desktop alternative, you will have to adapt the configuration of the startwm.sh file to reflect your settings.

If you use the  ~/.xsession file approach, you will experience the same symptoms as before i.e. grey screen. We will need to configure the system in a different way.  To have xRDP working in Ubuntu 16.04, you will need to  update the /etc/xrdp/startwm.sh file. To configure this, issue the following command in your Terminal console

sudo sed -i.bak '/fi/a #xrdp multiple users configuration \n mate-session \n' /etc/xrdp/startwm.sh

ubxprd16.04

Click on picture for better resolution

Note :

Remember that the command above is to be used when you have installed the Mate-Desktop.  If you have installed a different desktop environment, you will need to adapt the command accordingly. Please check the following links

Step 4 – Configuring xRDP Keyboard 

By default, the xRDP login screen will use an en-us keyboard layout. You remote session will also be using the en-us keyboard layout.  If you are using a different keyboard layout than the english one, you need to perform the following actions in order to update the configuration of the xrdp software.

In my case, I’m using a Belgian French keyboard, so I had to tell xrdp to use the belgian french keyboard as well.  To do that, you need to perform the following actions :

Step 1 : You go to the /etc/xrdp directory

Step 2 : you issue the command setxkbmap -layout <%your layout%> to define which keyboard map/layout to use

XRDP_15.04_5.PNG

Click on Picutre for better Resolution 

Step 3 : create a copy of the km-0409.ini file into the same directory. It seems that this is the default file used by xrdp to define the keyboard layout. You will need to use sudo in order to be able to write into the directory

Step 4 : Check that you have a backup of your file by typing the dir or ls command

Step 5 : update the file by issuing the following command sudo xrdp-genkeymap km-0409.ini

XRDP_15.04_6.PNG

Click on Picutre for better Resolution 

Step 5 – Reconnect to the Same Session

Since Ubuntu 14.10, a new xrdp package has been made available in the Ubuntu repository. This package fixes a long time issue related to the fact that users could not reconnect to the same session.  If you are using the package xrdp 0.6.1-1, you do not need to perform any customization, you will reconnect automatically to the same session.

Final Notes

As we can see, the installation process has not changed much and after performing all the necessary configuration steps, you should be able to connect remotely to your Ubuntu machine using the Remote Desktop Connection tool.

Some people are still facing some issues while using xrdp.  If you have any issues, connecting or using xrdp, please leave a comment and will contact you back in order centralize and collect as much information possible about the issue and publish the workaround founded (if any) for the mentioned problem.

That was an easy post  🙂

Till next time

See ya

214 thoughts on “XRDP – How to install XRDP on Ubuntu 16.04 – Easy Way

  1. Anyone got multiple screens working? I’m choosing W10 option “Use all my monitors for the remote session”, but no dice. Is this a non-starter?

  2. @Brendan,

    never tried mutiple screen yet ? Do not know if this is supported or not ? Will need to investigate

    Till next time
    See ya

  3. Hi

    Thanks for this nice and helpful post.

    May I also request for some additional help and guidance please?

    I have installed Ubuntu 16.04 desktop for sole purpose of hosting vrtualbox VMs, which I may need remote access.

    Being default installation, it has installed lot of unwanted thngs like Libre office, Unity desktop etc (have installed Mate after reading your article). Can you please guide as how to remove these extra softwares to save on disk/RAM and improve security and performance.

    Thanks in Advance

  4. When I run the command:

    sudo sed -i.bak ‘/fi/a #xrdp multiple users configuration \n mate-session \n’ /etc/xrdp/startwm.sh

    I get this error:

    sed: -e expression #1, char 28: unterminated `s’ command

    I don’t know much about SED, but I can’t find that there is a “/fi” command. Should this be “/if” instead? Or maybe just “/f”?

  5. @ankush,

    Sorry not to provide better info because we are lacking of time at the moment. an easy way to uninstall software would be to use the Ubuntu softwware. From there, you should have the option to remove installed software

    Hope this help
    Till next time
    See ya

  6. @Gray,
    For a quick fix, edit your /etc/xrdp/startwm.sh file and add manually the mate-session information .

    The command should be correct, the sed will add after /fi line the additional text….Possibly the contentn of the startwm.sh has been modified and the pattern search is not valid anymore….

    We will check for that

    Hope this help
    till next time
    See ya

  7. How do I logout of the session? I don’t have the buttons on the panel, and the command doesn’t work either?

  8. @Drew,

    which Desktop interface are you using ? are you using mate desktop ? have you tried to use the command line instead of the GUI interface ?
    have you checked for newer post about xrdp and Ubuntu 16.04 (see http://c-nergy.be/blog/?p=10752) ?
    waiting for feedback….

    Hope this help

    Till next time
    See ya

  9. I’m running Ubuntu 17.*. When I follow the directions above and RDP in, I get the login screen but after login my screen in completely blank. And blue.

  10. @Ray,

    Thank you for the feedback and comments… are you using any Nvidia graphic cards ? have you installed drivers for them ? this might be the problem as some people mentioned that using Nvdia Drivers would prevent to launch applications or crash the system. Is the problem only with chromium or Firefox would present same symptoms ?

    Let us know so we can collect these information and try to have a look into it

    Till next time
    See ya

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