Remote desktop on GNU/Linux

John Coltrane is an awe-inspiring tenor saxophonist by night (he frequently plays with his quartet at various Chicago jazz clubs), and Google's Director of IT by day. He heads the Google Chicago campus, which has 10,000 employees. Google has decided to close the campus, and make all 10,000 employees remote workers based in Chicago, and nearby mid-western cities. Google will sell off almost all of the buildings, and keep a couple of buildings to host a very large fleet of Fedora GNU/Linux servers, which the 10,000 employees will access remotely using Fedora GNU/Linux workstations and laptops. Please answer the following questions for John (Note: he prefers the term 'Free Software' to the term 'open-source'):

  1. Is there a free software remote desktop application that will solve this incredibly difficult engineering problem for John?
  2. How would he and Google go about setting up 10,000 remote desktops/laptops?
  3. Are there Free Software tools that can help him to automate some of the setup work?
  4. What software do you recommend for John to research to solve this problem?
  5. Will the solutions that you provide scale up if Google goes from 10,000 Chicago-based employees to 100,000 Chicago-based employees?
  6. Bonus question: John wants to start a Google Employees' Jazz Ensemble. What is the best way to introduce people who might be afraid to improvise in front of others to the art of jazz improvisation?
  1. Free Software Remote Desktop Application: A notable Free Software solution for remote desktop access is FreeRDP, a free implementation of the Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP), which allows users to remotely access their desktops. Another option is VNC, which is a popular technology that many Free Software implementations use, such as TigerVNC.

  2. Setting Up 10,000 Remote Desktops/Laptops: John and Google could leverage GNU Guix or NixOS, which are Free Software operating systems that offer transactional package management and configuration management built-in. These tools can be used to declaratively specify server and desktop configurations, making it easier to manage a large number of systems consistently.

  3. Automation Tools: Puppet and Chef have Free Software versions that can be used for automation, as well as Ansible, which is an open platform that can automate nearly every aspect of IT environments. Although Ansible is not part of the GNU Project, it is considered Free Software and is distributed under the GNU General Public License.

  4. Software to Research: For large-scale infrastructure management, John could investigate OpenNebula or Proxmox, which are Free Software platforms for managing virtualized services and data centers with advanced features for network and storage configuration. For desktop management, looking into Free Software configuration tools like FAI (Fully Automatic Installation) could be beneficial.

  5. Scalability: The recommended Free Software solutions are indeed scalable, and with proper architecture and planning, they can support the growth from 10,000 to 100,000 employees. It's crucial, however, to ensure that the network infrastructure, server hardware, and storage solutions are all designed to cope with the increased load. Regular scaling tests and performance monitoring will be essential to ensure that the system can handle the increased number of users without degradation in service.

  6. Bonus: To encourage Google employees to join the jazz ensemble and overcome the fear of improvisation, John could create a supportive environment by organizing no-pressure jam sessions and inviting guest musicians to lead improvisation workshops. Utilizing Free Software such as LMMS (Linux MultiMedia Studio) or Ardour for digital audio workstations could also help aspiring musicians to practice and experiment with jazz improvisation in the comfort of their own homes before playing in a group setting.


You should also read:

Access remote systems using SSH

Context: RHCSA certification Access remote systems using SSH In the context of the RHCSA (Red Hat Certified System Administrator) certification, SSH (Secure Shell)…