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Linux tips and tweaks

Access your Linux PC from anywhere over the internet using an iPad

Linux and iPads don't really get along togther and Apple does not support the operating system. You can't get iTunes for Linux and sync your music, apps, books and other items. However, if you do have an iPad and you run a Linux PC, you can remotely access one from the other. It's possible to be sitting in a coffee shop with your iPad and access your work or home PC running Linux as if you were sat in front of it. You can open files, run programs, get your emails and more, all using the iPad's touch screen interface. It's like running Linux on your iPad.

To perform this trick you first need to go to the App Store on the iPad and search for TeamViewer. It is a free app, so go ahead and download it. Now go to the TeamViewer website and find the download page. TeamViewer is a free program (for non-commercial use) for Debian, Ubuntu, Fedora, Suse and Mandriva. I used Ubuntu and after downloading the file, double clicking it automatically installed it and added a menu item.

The screen on the iPad is only 1029 x 768 pixels, so it's best if you change the desktop in Linux to this resolution before starting. It's not essential, but it does work better this way. In Ubuntu for example, click System, Preferences, Monitors. Now start the TeamViewer program on the Linux PC. Write down the ID and password and take it with you when you go out with your iPad.

TeamViewer

When you want to access your Linux PC, tap the TeamViewer app on the iPad. You must have an internet connection and a fast Wi-Fi link is best. Tap in the two boxes and enter the ID and password from your Linux PC. The app uses them to find the PC and create a connection. You'll see a page of instructions, such as tap to simulate a click, double tap and drag to click and drag and so on. It's all fairly ovbvious so Just click the continue button.

TeamViewer

After a few seconds the Lunux PC's desktop is displayed on the iPad as if you were actually sat in front of it. The colours weren't right when I tried it and this is probably because the screen image is highly compressed before being sent to the iPad to ensure that it runs fast enough. However, you can certainly use it to perform whatever tasks you need. You can even open a Terminal window and up pops the iPad's keyboard so you can enter commands.

TeamViewer

There are some settings worth exploring in TeamViewer on the Linux PC. For example, you can choose whether to go for a high quality screen display or fast screen updates, or something in between. Click Extras, Options in TeamViewer. There are security settings that include password strength, black and white lists, access control and so on. You can even record sessions and play them back later, so you can see what was done on the Linux PC.

TeamViewer is a great app and it's really useful being able to access your Linux PC from anywhere.

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