Use Solaris to admin Windows

This past week I was working at a customer site. We were configuring the Sun Java System Identity Manager. We configured a solution to manage identities for the customer's employees and partners across a wide range of systems. One of the systems we provisioned to was Microsoft Window's Active Directory. As part of the project, we needed to perform various administrative tasks on the Windows 2000 Server. Typically Windows Terminal Service is used to support remote administration. Normally, I would use a Windows system and start the Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) client to perform Window's administration. But not this time.

I use a 64-bit Athlon AMD powered laptop running Solaris 10. I've been able to accomplish most administrative tasks from Solaris 10 (less Windows admin tasks). A very cool utility was brought to my attention that changed how I would remotely admin Windows Servers. If you haven't discovered it, please check out rdesktop. The installation was simple;

  • download the tar.gz file
  • unpack it
  • run configure
  • make
  • make install

Solaris 10 included everything to build rdesktop, including gcc and openssl. The only custom part of the install involved telling the configure script where openssl was installed.

# gzcat rdesktop-1.4.1.tar.gz | tar xf - 
# cd rdesktop-1.4.1
# ./configure  --prefix=/usr/local --with-openssl=/usr/sfw
# make
# make install
# /usr/local/bin/rdesktop -g 1024x768 win2kserv

I'm now able to connect to the Windows Terminal Server and perform administrative tasks from Solaris 10. Adding rdesktop to my Solaris 10 system now gives me one less reason to run Windows.

Running Solaris (and not Windows) on my laptop has some extra benefits. Most, if not all, of the customers I visit are concerned about viruses. They get concerned when anyone connects a computer to their network. Keeping track of virus software on employee's systems is challenging enough. Worrying about what might be on a contractor's or vendor's laptop is a whole different challenge. I've been to customers where they will not allow any Windows laptops to connect (to their network) until they've been verified to be safe. I've not seen this type of concern with Solaris.

So ... to anyone that needs to access Windows Terminal Servers, add rdesktop to Solaris 10. You'll be able to remotely administer the Windows Server without having someone worry if your going to infect their network with a Windows-based virus.

Comments:

You are my hero.

Posted by Jason Jones on June 15, 2005 at 05:54 AM CDT #

Agreed with Jason, this is awesome.

I kinda wish the Sun solution was free like this one personally. :/

Posted by Brian Jackson on July 23, 2009 at 04:41 PM CDT #

Thank you . Finally 1.4 version works fine in my solaris10 box (1.5 and 1.6 was giving some errors)

Posted by Rajesh on August 13, 2009 at 09:02 PM CDT #

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Scott Fehrman

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