Running Windows and Linux apps on the same desktop with OVD

Provision Apps

The last critical bit of configuration is to create what OVD calls Publications. A publication is a group of users and the apps they can use. For example, you can make an Accounts publication that includes all users in the Accounts department, as well as all accounts-related applications.

OVD lets you create multiple publications with multiple users and multiple application groups. This approach allows for much better control over the users and the apps they have access to. Although it might not sound intuitive at first, it eases user/app management by several degrees.

To create a publication, log in into the admin console and start the Publication Wizard. Now click on the Create a group with users radio button and select all the users you want in a particular publication. Next, select the Create a group with applications radio button, and select all the applications (Linux and Windows) you want that group of users to have access to (Figure 5).

When you're done, your newly created publication will be listed under the Publications group. From this page, you can either delete a publication or add/delete applications and users from within the publication.

Launch the Session

OVD works on any browser that is equipped with Sun's JRE plugin. I have tested it on Firefox in both Windows and Linux: with Internet Explorer on Windows and with Iceweasel on Debian Lenny.

With the plugin in place, launch the browser and point it to the SM URL – for example, http://sm.example.com/sessionmanager. Select a username from the drop-down list and enter the password. Presto! Ulteo OVD displays your unified desktop with both Linux and Windows apps in a new browser window (Figure 6).

Although it resides inside a web browser, the Ulteo OVD desktop looks like your typical Linux desktop. It has desktop icons, and you can right-click on the desktop and change the wallpaper. As mentioned earlier, you can even copy and paste text between the Windows and Linux apps inside the virtual desktop, as well as from the native OS outside the browser window.

To top it off, Ulteo OVD will print documents on any printer attached to either a Windows or Linux machine on the network.

Add a Directory Server

Ulteo OVD includes a set of user accounts to help you test the setup. The Internal Database Profiles option lets you add users to the Ulteo SM MySQL database. But for all practical purposes, it is best to hook up Ulteo OVD to a directory server. Currently, OVD supports both Active Directory running on a Windows server and an LDAP server running on Linux.

To add a directory server, from the SM admin console, head over to Configuration | Profile settings. In the drop down list, select the server that's managing users on your network and fill in the connection details (Figure 7).

Depending on how your directory server is configured, you might want to let it handle the user groups as well. Or, you can grab users from the directory server while you group them with Ulteo OVD. Similarly, it is a good idea to let users store their files under their home directory, as defined by the directory server.

If you are using Active Directory, make sure you make all your users members of the Remote Desktop Users group; otherwise, they won't be able to run the Windows apps.

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