TeamViewer Alternatives for Linux

TeamViewer Alternatives for Linux

If you follow tech news at all, you’ve heard about “the happening” over at TeamViewer and of the “stuff” the victims of this exploit inadvertently purchased for the bad guys. Now, some of you might be thinking that this is old news. After all, this was like a month ago. What’s in the past stays in the past – wrong.

I disagree and believe this instead highlights the need to further examine all of the X- compatible remote desktop options for Linux out there for accessing one’s desktop or for providing remote support. And that’s exactly what I’m going to do. Below, I’ll list all of the options I’ve had experience with and we’ll go through them to determine their merits on the Linux desktop.

TeamViewer….er wait, nope. Scratch that. Let’s play it safe and leave them off this list. I think it’s fair to say this is no longer an option I feel comfortable with.

Splashtop…hang on….no, they turned their backs on Linux users sometime ago. But hey, if you’re interested in running their app on Ubuntu 12.04, it’s a fantastic option. Yes, I am absolutely messing with you. Don’t do this. Instead, use software that is actually compatible with your system.

X2Go – If you’re comfortable exposing your SSH port (whether this is 22 or something else) to the wilds of the Internet, then this is one option for remote desktop over the Internet. You’ll want to make sure you’re also using fail2ban as you will have strangers knocking at your ports. Not ideal, but it works.

If you plan on using this to offer support to your family, well, you also had better make sure you control their router and port forwarding as well. Did I mention Dynamic DNS for easier connections when the IP address changes? Yeah, you’ll want that too. But once it’s set up, you know for a fact that security is all on you. This is a good thing! Best of all, no central server to hack! To install X2Go, simply locate and install it using your distro’s repositories.

Mikogo – Surprisingly, not bad at all. Despite its Java underpinnings, the only dependency I needed to install to make it work was on my 64bit machines. Simply running this on x64 Ubuntu will get you ready to run the executable once it’s downloaded.

sudo apt-get install libxtst6:i386

The first thing that became apparent is that Mikogo is designed for meetings first, everything else second. Still, it does offer the ability to provide TeamViewer like functionality, but without the concerns of using a previously exploited application. The obvious downside to using Mikogo is that it appears to be a closed source product…just like TeamViewer. Then again, it’s lesser known and may not be as big of a moving target.

Which option would you trust? Speaking for myself, I think I’ll be using X2go for my own needs with limited use of Mikogo for remote support. What say you? Maybe you’re screaming “NoMachine!” as you read this? Hit the comments and sound off.

Matt Hartley
Freedom Penguin’s founder & talking head – Matt has over a decade working with Linux desktops, his operating system experience consists of both Windows and Linux operating platforms. In addition to writing articles on Linux and open source technology for and, Matt also once served as a co-host for a popular Linux-centric podcast.

Matt has written about various software titles, such as Moodle, Joomla, WordPress, openCRX, Alfresco, Liferay and more. He also has additional Linux experience working with Debian based distributions, openSUSE, CentOS, and Arch Linux.

18 thoughts on “TeamViewer Alternatives for Linux”

  1. I would love to use X2Go, but unfortunately it’s not compatible with Unity and I don’t want to switch to another DE, at least not right now.

    Actually, X2Go is quite picky with regards to the DEs it can support:

    So I’m using the venerable VNC, over SSH, instead. It’s not great.

    I come from a Windows world, and I was disappointed that I couldn’t find something equivalent to the RDP thing from Windows. I expected to find something similar, in the following senses:

    – a solution so I can connect to the desktop of another machine, either to the currently running session or another session;

    – something that is pixel-perfect and works great over low bandwidth;

    – on the remote machine’s display the desktop needs to be locked when I took it over from another machine; and be able to “take back” the current session if I’m in front of the remote desktop computer (after I log on, of course);

    – being able to resize the desktop and when I go full-screen then have all the keystrokes (except for the “unfullscreen” combination, of course) go to the remote desktop;

    – the remote assistance mode;

    – etc.


      • I use Guacamole and xrdp together. I set Guacamole up on the remote desktop “server” with tomcat8, nginx, mysql.

        I install xrdp & x11rdp on the same remote desktop server/host along with Mate (ubuntu-mate in my case). The Guacamole “localhost” connection is via RDP to the xrdp server running on the same machine.

        After configuring guacamole “connections” & “users” I can then log into that remote desktop server & get a Mate desktop using only HTTPS (for encryption over the internet) & an HTML5 browser. Audio, video performance is actually great too !

        FYI, I use ( great build script to create xrdp & x11rdp from latest source. Scaryglider’s script also results in an x11rdp.deb and xrdp.deb so you can install/reinstall wherever you need to.

        A side benefit is that once the Guacamole/tomcat/nginx is setup you can use it to also get the same HTTPS/HTML5 connectivity to Windows server/machines…!


  2. What about AnyDesk? It is way faster than Teamviewer (founded 3 years ago by former TeamViewer enginiers) and has a good linux client. There was some problems with Qt based systems, but those seem to be solved. AnyDesk has been my choice for ~ 2 years now and I am happy with it.

    • I’ve looked at AnyDesk before and they do seem better than TeamViewer. Price wise though, Mikogo seems to be a better deal due to 25 simultaneous connections for $192 vs $88 per connection with AnyDesk. In terms of free plan, both seem better than TeamViewer at the moment.

  3. I think with all the techno-panic being spread online about Teamviewer it needs to be pointed out that there are three distinct categories — the default main version, the quick-support version, and the unattended, host version. It’s only the last one, the host version that was exploited (and has since been patched). The first two require a login ID and temporarily assigned password every time you want to connect to a remote system and were not a part of the vulnerability.
    If you were using the host version, then yes it was a potential problem and it’s a lesson on the importance of keeping your software updated.

    • Actually it wasn’t even an exploit. Attackers used simple username/password combos to login. Those credentials were NOT exposed by TV, just copied from a third party exploit having nothing to do with TV.

      This article is either unfair or ignorant. I had a better impression of you Matt. Bad journalism at its worst.

      • Not going to spend a lot of time on this, but let me highlight some facts real quick. 😉

        1) Not a journalist – I also did NOT report the initial happening. I simply pointed out that TV could bite me and based on their documented “misstatements” (and I’m be very kind here), they lost my trust.

        2) I linked to a mega-thread of folks who had their bank accounts cleaned out because TV screwed up. How folks choose to interpret this is up to them. I choose to never again use their products.

        3) The entire basis of the article is about TV alternatives. And considering the seething outrage a lot of folks had with TV’s “reaction”, I think it was overdue.

        • My misgivings come down to the fact that TV was deflecting responsibility from day one. That, is where I drew the line. Hacks and so forth happen. Most companies don’t blame their users though.

          • However, it was 100% the users’ fault this time…

            PS: I’m a TeamViewer user. Of course I don’t reuse passwords like a moron. Nothing happened to me. There are dozens of testimonials like mine if you look for them.

    • I think there are absolutely lessons here about keeping remote software updated and turned off when not in use. However, TV’s reaction to the events are where I dropped them like a bad habit. I was livid. Still am.

  4. As I stated, they’re shrug of the shoulders of an attitude lost me forever.  I completely and totally disagree the official claim and don’t believe that for two seconds without a third-party audit. That, would be an opinion. 🙂

Leave a Comment