Running Windows and Linux apps on the same desktop with OVD

Installing More Apps

Although the default set of apps is good for a wide variety of users, it surely doesn't cover all the bases. To install another app, head over to the Servers tab. If you have multiple Linux application servers, find the one you want to install the new app to and click on its FQDN or IP address.

Now you'll see a list of all the apps installed on the server, along with an empty text box under the Install an application from a package name section (Figure 8). To install an app, just type in its name in the text box (say, gqview) and click on the Install button.

To monitor the app installation, click on the Tasks tab, which lists all the active and completed tasks on all the servers. To get the details of a task, click on the ID (Figure 9). When the installation is complete, the app will appear under the list of available applications on the server.

Before users can access this app, you have to include it in an application group. Either edit an existing group or create a new one. That's it. The app is now available to all users in the publication that contains the application group that bundles the app.

Customizing

Under the Web interface settings tab in the SM admin console, you'll find options for tweaking some aspects of the login screen. For instance, you can modify the heading title, replace the Ulteo logo with your own logo, or disable the drop-down list of users.

Other tweakable parameters that affect the user's virtual desktop are under the Session settings tab (Figure 10). For example, you can preset a default time out, after which a user is automatically logged out. If you want, you can let users use a console inside the virtual desktop or free up space on the desktop by disabling the desktop icons.

By default, Ulteo OVD allows users to share their desktop with other users. For this to work, you need to equip the SM with SMTP settings for your mail server. If you aren't running a mail server, you can also use Gmail's SMTP settings.

Once the settings are in place, users can invite others by using the Share desktop link at the top-right corner of their screen. If you select the Active option (Figure 11), the invited user will be able to take control of your desktop; otherwise, the visitor will be a mere spectator.

Finally, the load balancing policy comes into the picture if you are using multiple application servers. Under the Server settings menu, you can tweak factors, such as available RAM and CPU usage, that help Ulteo OVD balance the workload (Figure 12).

Conclusion

Ulteo's Open Virtual Desktop is the most promising open source interoperability tool to appear for some time. OVD is ideal for anyone who wants to run both Windows and Linux apps from within a unified desktop. The innovative OVD trumps the expensive proprietary alternatives with its adaptability and exhaustive features.

Infos

  1. The Ulteo Debian repository: deb http://archive.ulteo.com/ulteo/ovd ovd-polaris main
  2. RPMs for the Session Manager: http://www.ulteo.com/main/downloads/ulteo-ovd-rpm-sm.php
  3. Default application bundle http://www.ulteo.com/main/downloads/ulteo-ovd.php
  4. RPMs for the Application Server: http://www.ulteo.com/main/downloads/ulteo-ovd-rpm-aps.php
  5. Ulteo OVD DVD ISO: http://www.ulteo.com/main/downloads/ulteo-ovd-iso.php
  6. Agent for Windows application servers: http://www.ulteo.com/main/downloads/ulteo-ovd-win.php

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