Building a Remote Linux Desktop

Step 1: Build the server

The other day, for giggles, I decided to see if I could convert a virtual private server (VPS) into a desktop and access it remotely. Seems to have worked, so I've decided to do it again, in case anyone else ever wanted to. At the end of this, you'll have a server at Digital Ocean running Ubuntu MATE that you can access from almost any platform with X2Go.

Start out by going to Digital Ocean and spinning up a new droplet. I chose Ubuntu 14.04 x64, but it shouldn't bee too much work to get this working with Ubuntu 14.10. Wait your requisite 57 seconds (mine only took 44 seconds!!), and connect to the machine. While completely optional, Digital Ocean has some great recommendations with what to do after you build your droplet. At the very least, configure yourself a firewall, leaving port 22 (or whatever port you choose) open. Our remote desktop will only need SSH to connect. It's probably also a good idea to run some updates:

apt-get update
apt-get upgrade
apt-get dist-upgrade
shutdown -r now

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