Patrick Binder's picture
I have looked and looked for free open source solutions to the common problem of needing remote access software that clients can dl and it unistalls when it it done or one that has jump client that install on every computer in the network so that administrators can manage the network. Every single one cost thousands per user license. I think that it would be easy enough to develop our own live bootable OS that allows remote access into, WIN, MAC, Linux, and smartphones of all flavors that runs a LAMP stack for management. and I believe strongly that the turnkey core has the necessary starting point to develop it. I would love to have some people help me and put our heads together. if nothing else it will tear down the cost of the other companies software to a much lower cost. I think that if we sucessfully develop a OS/VM solution that hundreds of small and starting out companies would benefit greatly from such a software leap. Now obviously we will have to have mutliple platform gurus working on this project to develop a platform that supports all the above. SO please can we create a development site to start designing this incredible software. I would like to see it have the functionality of all 3 software titles. bomgar, logmein, and webex combined. so lets start dicussing features and concepts. If we can compile the already existing freely available cross Platform Open Source Software together with already existing gateway,firewall,VPN software into one single appliance then have it set to defualt boot to runlevel 2 so that it is manageable through webmin primarily as all tkl is and design the webmin to manage all of the above functions. Is that something that will be relatively medium to compile?
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Liraz Siri's picture

Kudos to Patrick for taking the initiative. IMHO, this is what the open source is all about. As I said on another comment post, I love this idea and would seriously consider running the required infrastructure for NAT negotiation. It might not be necessary though:

http://samy.pl/pwnat/

Jeremy Davis's picture

I just had a read about pwnat and I still find it hard to believe. That is certainly one clever dude! Using that to connect VNC over some secure networking (VPN?) and we're pretty much there!

I also liked the fact that you may be willing to back this idea with a TKL server if need be. You TKL guys rock! I think pwnat is probably cooler though! Quite a unique solution, well AFAIK anyway.

How cool would it be if I could just "TKL" into my home server from work! :)

Patrick Binder's picture

Ok well if we are going to design the server it needs to be able to connect to all win, dos, unix (mac, solaris, oracle etc), linux (all OS's) and even if we use this we are still going to have to design a GUI administrator console as well as a client with a built in chat. the GUI admin console will need to have tabs to be able to be remoted into as many other clients at one time as we wish to be simulataneously remoted into as we as each tab will have sub tabs allowing remote view, local file to remote file system transfer(both directions), a command shell to the remote system. we will need two client types the first is a permanent jump client that you can easily select at any given time from the list and remote into the computer(server) with out gaining access persmissions each time from and end user for administering servers in a lights out configuration, the second client type would be a client that a end user downloads from the server to and gets put into a call pool for any tech to pickup and remote administrate that uninstalls itself upon the end of the session but allows for remote boot of the computer and restarts upong the computer booting up and while the computer has the client installed it skips the login process and logs in automatically. obviously the server version should have the same thing. Now at the server end we have to develop an ssl secured webmin for administrating the user accounts on the server as well as allowing for customization of the front page via html, xaml, or php. Clearly all the admin credentials will have to be kept in a MySQL database and managed by phpMyAdmin, wisely we should use the enterprise version of phpMyAdmin to allow for database replication for redundancy of the servers. Clearly we will have to use a LAMP stack or less likely a LAPP stack in order to design the site so that it is accesible for client to download the client or select a tech they prefer from the list and download a client that puts them into their call pool instead of the call center pool to be transfered to a tech. obviously there is a lot more that has to be done as well for features but this should be a nice list for us to use to start a flow sheet for the application design so that we can easily develop the SAS/Server solution.

Patrick Binder's picture

Well clearly we have to use both pwnat as well as a vpn,firewall,ssl and LAMP stack all combined into one server  base structure in order to support the necessary aritecure requirements? anything else that I am forgetting to include in the bas structure that we will have to use to build everything else off of?

David Fonseca's picture

As I emailed Patrick just now, I'd like to help if work starts on this one.

It seems to me that what the product should do first is work on some of the blind spots of these other products (that along with having full windows support).  Bomgar has no support for Android and I think the other two are only partial for android, webex and logmein both suffer from being SOS involving a third party in the connection process.  I think Bomgar may have an advantage over the others because it also logs all sessions (for financial and medical systems this is required.)

It does seem like what is needed mostly is the patience and skil to knit together all the Linux functionality already available to make a killer product.

I have been indecisively trying to pick out a product in this niche myself to buy and use for my lone-wolf tech support company, and its amazing how many companies are in it right now.  I would guess there are easily 30 different products available, especially if you include the shared desktop meeting types, and one-to-one "remote to my other desktop" products.  Most of them are horrendously expensive for someone like me ($750 to $1500/year avarage), yet watchagoingtodo?

I do see the smart-phone support market as a growth area, and one that nobody seems to cover 100% yet, and most of those 30 companies don't cover it at all.

See Wikipedia comparison of 60 products or so in  Comparison of remote desktop software

Jeremy Davis's picture

and am happy to be involved but I only have time and energy to be at the periphery. Also with the TKLPatch deadline fast approaching the likelihood of this project making the cut for the next appliance release is probably slim.

But don't let that put you off! Because of the TKLPatch system it is possible to create a patch that end users can apply themselves. It also means that the pressure is somewhat off (although perhaps not for you David if you are hoping to use it yourself). I suggest whoever is most motivated start posting some specs/plans and build a prototype patch from that.

I think this could be a very exciting project, looking forward to seeing how it evolves.

Patrick Binder's picture

I have every intention of figuring out how to figure out how to make this work. I think once the TKL Base system is 100% patched as far as stability and a proper Webmin console built for the base system that we can begin to use that I can use suse Linux Enterprise servers package for creating PXE boot system. The package also allows you to create a system back up in the Form of an ISO so once we get a working server we can package it back into a bootable installable ISO Linux System. but the thing is I have like NO programming knowledge aside from some html, and VB. So in order to accomplish this I would have to study my ass off. and I need you guys to reccommend some guys that know this stuff to help us with this project. I feel that creating this particular system could make a small fortune in supporting other people computers. And help every Technition world wide to make there work able to be done from anywhere in the world.I hate being tied to an office I want to get my IT company off the ground run all my charges through paypal and just jet set from here to there and having a remote support software that is tailored to work on all platforms, win, linux, unix, oracle, solaris, etc as well as all mobile OS's that we can create the most widely used remote software in the world. and provide ourselves the freedom to be able to expand our businesses globally by alllowing us to work from anywhere thus be able to travel worldwide and still do tech support while setting up companies around the world. sorry if I am getting a little repetitive its been an extremely long day and I am having trouble with creating virtual hosts on my joomla server that running on one of my SLES servers. But its my first attempt at ever running a second website from the server. maybe someone has some advice or a run through that I can go over of how to do the setup from webmin. as my webserver is a long ways away and I am on location and I need to be able to set up the server to do addtional virtual host by port number from the same domain/subdomain as the main site. I would prefer not to create a new domain name in order to set up the site. so maybe someone knows a good tutorial. also what theme does the TKL use for webmin does someone have a link I hate the default webmin thats on my sles box but I love the TKL theme.

Patrick Binder's picture

Ok so I downloaded the 10.04 base system. How do I proceed from here to configure it to automatically install additional packages during installation? and where do I add the packages? in the pool?

Alon Swartz's picture

You have a couple of options, I'd recommend taking a look at the community development documentation.

Pressley Stacks's picture

Has an appliance been considered that would mimic Adito (now known as OpenVPN ALS)?  It is a web-based, open source, SSL-VPN application.  Most of the development on it has gone by the wayside.

 

pstacks

Jeremy Davis's picture

But from a look over the N-Central website, it too looks good but does not apear to be open source, thus making it ineligible as a software candidate for a TKL appliance.

BTW I had little or no coding experience when I first started playing with TKL so this is great opportunity to get your hands dirty if you're keen :)

Jeremy Davis's picture

Thank you for clarifying.

IMO it is probably worth having a bit of a read over the basics before you try too much. Here are some links I would suggest browsing:

https://help.ubuntu.com/community/UsingTheTerminal

https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Beginners/BashScripting

And of course the Ubuntu Server Guide: https://help.ubuntu.com/10.04/serverguide/C/index.html

You may also find the Ubuntu Server FAQ useful: https://help.ubuntu.com/community/ServerFaq

I think this thread may also be of value and contains lots more links and advice: http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1420953

Obviously all those resources refer to Ubuntu, but as TKL v11.x is based on Ubuntu 10.04/Lucid then they will generally be relevant. The Ubuntu forums are pretty active and friendly so that is a great place to ask questions (as well as here obviously). Personally I find google to be the best Linux info resource! Often far better in my experience than finding Win info (above a basic level anyway)!

If you get stuck or there is something you just don't get, feel free to start a new thread here and ask! Then myself and/or one of our community members (and/or even a passing guest) will try to help you out.

Good luck.

I found digging around bash resources and on bash related IRC channels helped me get up to speed. I have some bash resources listed on the TKLPatch Primer at http://9while9.com.


Ric Moore's picture

'The Ubuntu forums are pretty active and friendly so that is a great place to ask questions (as well as here obviously"

A bunch of us Ubuntu regular users/support contributors jumped ship after that "pretty active and friendly" Ubuntu Support list got moderated and we were tossed out, once we complained about the "lens" shopping "feature" allowing third parties access to our seach results without our permission fro our private desktops. Ergo, I wouldn't use Ubuntu if I had to be shot.

I wouldn't support Suse for the same reasons, after their parent company tried to sue Linux users. I sure as hell won't use Windows. So, I'm running Debian 100%  and am quite happy now. Just my two cents. Ric

 


I'm not sure how I missed this one. I hope I can contribute anything from my skillset that can be helpful.


toby's picture

I would love a tool that would allow me to easily support a handful of family members and a couple of friends, most of whom have difficulty following telephone instructions to install and launch gotomypc, logmein, or gotoassist attended host apps. What I would like is to be able to install an unattended client on those few specific systems, which are scattered around the US, so I can provide support with nothing required of the end user other than to watch me work while we chat about what's happening in each other's life.

While I do support my semi-retirement with occassional for-pay pc & mobile device support (mostly malware mitigation and hardware upgrades), I have no plans to use remote support software as a tool for income in the future. Since all of my remote support is provided for free, I can ill afford even a couple hundred dollars a year for a software solution. I am not a coder, in even the most vague use of the term, so unfortunately I am unable to offer much assistance in bringing such a tool into fruition. However, I am willing to offer my services as a beta tester, should the need arise. (I own multiple computers, running Win 7 & 8 and Mac OSX, and three mobile droids, and enough spare hardware to piece together a couple of systems suitable for Linux installs. I am also comfortably family with various virtual pc applications. So I could test without ever putting anyone else's system at risk.)

I truly hope this project is still moving forward. IMHO this is exactly the type of scenario where opensource can really shine - offering a no-cost solution to those of us who just enjoy helping others, and not necessarily to make money.

Jeremy Davis's picture

It would be a great addition to the lineup but unfortunately it stalled and no one else has picked it up... It's still on the radar though...

Jeremy Davis's picture

I agree that this would be great; but unfortunately it hasn't happened...

Jeremy Davis's picture

While we agree it's a really cool idea we are not in a position to drive this forward.

If you are interested in driving it and doing lead development then perhaps we could help/partner on it?

Jeremy Davis's picture

Thanks for your input.

I still think that this idea would be awesome to implement so your code may be handy. Although for us we'd also need code that would work with Linux. We also have a fairly high percentage of Mac users too...

Is your code open source? If so do you have hosted somewhere like GitHub?

Jeremy Davis's picture

Great work mate!

I've had a quick glance, but TBH I'm not very familiar with Perl. I have heard of VNC (as you would expect) and have used it before (although a long time ago). I have also heard of and used NoVNC (although only in a web browser - as a component of another product).

From a glance, your solution consists of a web server (Apache?) that provides a "fixed" front end and install-able client modules (that the server connects to; they handle the remote access on the client end). Do I have that right? Or am I missing something?

Assuming that a have it right, I would completely separate the code into server and client. It probably makes sense to include the (installable or drop-in) client binaries with the server, but I'm not sure that it makes sense to include the source as well.

This certainly looks like it could be a really cool project. If we can get something working really sweet, perhaps we could provide it as an appliance. Also we could consider providing a hosted version too? We would probably need to charge a minimal subscription fee (to cover hosting costs and some extra to assist with future development) but I reckon that would be pretty awesome!

Bryan's picture

I have recieved an ton of requests to make the software "deployable" in the form of an ISO or VM so I have started writing the code.

I am currently reworking the code to act as a standalone server using the CentOS netinstall disc. I am changing the database over to sqlite rather than a full MySQL instance for better portability. I am also adding multiple session support per user/admin and building a generic agent that allows for zero config deployment for your server instance. I will post additional updates regarding this project on my website Supervene once it gets closer to deployment. I would guess 1-2 weeks before the first ISO release.

Lastly, I removed the repo on Github as it was incomplete and no one seemed interested enough to contribute to the project after 7 months.

 

 

Jeremy Davis's picture

If you are fluent with Linux commandline and comfortable with Debian, then you could leverage our existing build tool (TKLDev) to build exactly what you are talking about. It's how we build all (~100) of our appliances!

I won't go into too much detail here as the docs are fairly extensive, but essentially, it uses an overlay directory which contains files to be overlayed directly over the OS filesystem; and a conf directory, containing install and config script(s).

So long as it uses only open source code, we'd be more than happy to add it to the official TurnKey library of appliances which will get you lots of exposure (we have literally hundreds of thousands of website visitors a month).

WRT to removing your GH repo, that's a bit of a pity. IMO even if it's not getting much attention, it's still worth keeping the code public. Unless of course you don't intend it to be open source any more? In which case, most of my post is irrelevant.

Jeremy Davis's picture

TBH, I'm not completely sure why, but he has. :(

Hopefully he'll be back and either give us an update on where the code lives now, or perhaps even re-upload it to GH?!

Jeremy Davis's picture

Hi Bryan,

Thanks for the update. Out of curiosity, are you using TurnKey as the base for your ISOs? If not perhaps that's worth consideration? So long as it only includes open source software, we may be able to add it to the library!?

Also FWIW I've tweaked your website user account (which I note you weren't logged into when you posted this). If you log in with that, you should now be able to avoid most of the spam traps. That should make posting easier.

If anyone else is having issues posting to the forums, please get in touch with me and I can also tweak your user account.

Bryan's picture

I am not using TKL as the base for the software. I am fond of CentOS and its proximity to RedHat Enterprise. Does TKL have a CentOS base? If so, I feel it is possible I could make this happen.

 

Thanks for the bot fix BTW!

Jeremy Davis's picture

We're all Debian guys, so no CentOS version sorry. There isn't really a fundamental reason why not, but OTOH we don't have any plans to go down that path. It would be a fair bit of work, for fundamentally little gained (except for a few die hard RHEL/CentOS users who would never use anything else).

Regardless, keep us posted on your progress. So long as your software remains open source, we may still add an appliance in the future anyway?! We'll see what happens. Regardless, good work! :)

Bryan's picture

Ok guys. I poked around with the code a while ago and somewhere along the way I lost sight of the project and stopped working on this. I think I will just box it up and turn it over to you. I am not a TKL user but I would be willing to help you get things rolling as I originally planned. I am working on the Git repo (I hate git btw) I am a little slow since I am old school.. plese bare with me while I learn this thing again.

Bryan's picture

I will break it down into different projects as requested before even thought they are all one big project. This should make understanding the pieces easier. The Client for the remote support does not exist since it get compiled on the server in realtime. So this means three parts:

Unattended Access Server

Unattended Access Client

Remote Support Tool

Jeremy Davis's picture

Nice to hear from you! :)

I for one am certainly looking forward to this and has assumed that the project had died a natural death. Great to hear that isn't the case! :)

As a non-TurnKey/Debian user, if working with TKLDev is too steep a learning curve then whatever you can share will be fine, I'm sure. So long as your setup uses default Linux commands, it should be easy enough to port across. Dependencies may be a little problematic (RHEL/CentOS tend to have older packages and a more limited default package archive in my limited experience), but I'm sure we'll be able to resolve that if need be.

Re git, if that doesn't float your boat, so long as you publish it somewhere publicly so I can fetch/download in in some way, I can live with pretty much anything else. Although personally, I'm a big git fan, so GitHub or similar is my preference.

When you have pushed something somewhere public please let us know and I'll have a look.

Bryan's picture

I apologize for the long wait. I have been busy with the razdc project. I am scrubbing the code for database passwords, etc.. I will post as soon as I can. I would love to see this code get put to good use (I still use it daily for remote access). I feel guilty for not sharing the wealth that is the freedom from the coorporate products.

Bryan's picture

Here are the links for the repos. Keep in mind they will over lap and have duplicate files as they share componets.

https://github.com/p3rlphr33k/Unattended-Access-Client

https://github.com/p3rlphr33k/UnattendedAccessServer

https://github.com/p3rlphr33k/Remote-Support-Server

 

Lets build somthing.

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