Using X via an Xdmcp Server

You can think of XDMCP as a streamlined replacement for an SSH, Telnet, or other remote login protocol. You can run an XDMCP server on the remote system (the X client computer) to accept logins. When contacted, the XDMCP server uses X protocols to display a login screen. When you enter a valid username and password, XDMCP runs an X startup script. This configuration makes XDMCP a good choice for remote logins in which the remote system completely or almost completely controls the X server's display, such as when using a non-Linux X server or when you want to turn a Linux system into little more than a remote GUI terminal. XDMCP also happens to be used in a purely local way on most workstations. When you boot Linux and see a GUI login screen, you're really seeing an XDMCP server in action; this server just manages the local display.

Three XDMCP servers are common on Linux: The X Display Manager (XDM), the KDE Display Manager (KDM), and the GNOME Display Manager (GDM). Your first task in setting up an XDMCP server to handle remote logins is to pick between these three servers. Each has its own configuration quirks, so you must know how to handle each of these. Finally, you must know how to configure an XDMCP client (that is, an X server) to talk to the XDMCP server.

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