Building FreeNX (0.4) on Ubuntu Hoary

From a clean install of Ubuntu/Hoary, I used the following to build FreeNX from source. This also works with Debian/Sarge.

Add the following to your apt source.list and run an update:

deb ./
deb-src ./

Install the following build-depends packages:
sudo apt-get install cdbs autotools-dev patchutils autoconf bzip2 zlib1g-dev libpng12-dev libjpeg-dev xlibs-dev libfreetype6-dev libmikmod2-dev libssl-dev libxaw7-dev automake1.9

On Debian sarge you might need this as well:
sudo apt-get install build-essential

Pull the sources (~40Mb):
apt-get source nx freenx.

Build the debs:
cd nx-; fakeroot dpkg-buildpackage -b; cd ..; sudo dpkg -i *.deb; cd freenx-0.4.0/; fakeroot dpkg-buildpackage -b; cd .. ; sudo dpkg -i freenx_0.4.0-0pre1_all.deb .

Bob’s your uncle.

I’ve got FreeNX working well in a Xen based instance of Hoary using the FreeNX defaults with the !M keys. I’m able to connect from the three !M NX clients I tried: Linux, Windows and OSX. Sound was working with the Windows client, it required the esound daemon. I found this a little chompy, and turned it off for now. I haven’t tried this with the Linux client yet. There are a couple notes here about LTSP and sound that I might investigate at a later stage. Session suspend works, although with OSX it seems you have to kill the X11 server, as the NX client itself refuse listen to the close button.

Its possible to use a similar process for nxclient at:
deb-src ./


  1. _imc_ Said,

    July 15, 2005 @ 6:42 pm


    gpg \-\-keyserver \-\-recv-keys FB1A399A71409CDF

    gpg \-\-armor \-\-export FB1A399A71409CDF | sudo apt-key add –

    sudo apt-get update

  2. The Educated New Village Boy » Blog Archive » Kolab up Said,

    July 30, 2005 @ 6:40 am

    […] y TV set sans monitor after setting up FreeNX using some simple instructions garnered from here (ain’t the Net convenient?). I’m still not entirely su […]

  3. Tiago Cogumbreiro Said,

    August 2, 2005 @ 7:47 am

    You should notice that the arguments following “gpg” should have double slash (–) instead of the big slash (–) that appears in the comment above.

  4. Greg Diebel Said,

    August 9, 2005 @ 6:50 am

    User also needs to have fakeroot installed.

    sudo apt-get install fakeroot

  5. Craig Cottingham Said,

    August 13, 2005 @ 6:46 am

    I add the given lines to /etc/apt/sources.list, run “apt-get update”, and get:

    Failed to fetch rename failed, No such file or directory (/var/lib/apt/lists/partial/\_project\_kanotix\_unstable\_.\_Release -> /var/lib/apt/lists/\_project\_kanotix\_unstable\_.\_Release).

  6. Nicholas Lee Said,

    August 13, 2005 @ 9:36 am

    Did you run “sudo apt-get update”?? I just tried it and the respository works for me.

  7. Nicholas Lee Said,

    August 27, 2005 @ 8:29 am

    A useful thread extending this work to building FreeNX for AMD64.

  8. Somewhere out there! » Xen disk performance Said,

    August 29, 2005 @ 9:05 pm

    […] I pulled out an old P4 1.8GHz, added 2Gb of memory and installed with Xen using the same basic template from the colo above. A Base domU providing NFS, particularily a NFS home directory to the desktop domU. As indicated elsewhere in this blog, the FreeNX installation from source was flawlessly. During the following week I experienced a similar annoyance, this time with the whole desktop stalling. Firefox would periodically act like Netscape waiting for a dns request. Occassionaly the whole NX desktop would halt and I’d have to wait for a few moments before it started operating again. […]

  9. Scott S. Jones D.C. Said,

    September 24, 2005 @ 2:41 am

    I want to run freenx…but I am worried. I recently installed stable version of debian..and run GnuCash on it now; I do NOT want to install something unstable though and hose my GnuCash installation just now when I have it working…


  10. Nicholas Lee Said,

    September 24, 2005 @ 8:48 pm

    Gnucash and (Win32 client) NX don’t actually work that well together due to Gnucash’s handling of fonts. I haven’t tried myself to get it to work, but I think the NX fonts need to be install on the client end.

    Otherwise, NX is pretty easy to add, try and remove if it’s not wanted. Especially if it is compiled from source and not additional libraries are required to be installed.

  11. Stefan Hartsuiker Said,

    November 12, 2005 @ 2:45 am

    It turns on Sarge you also need automake1.4 and dpatch

  12. Jesper Said,

    November 15, 2005 @ 11:39 pm

    when I try to add the key with `sudo apt-key add -´
    Nothing happens? I get a blank line with the cursor, and nothing happens. Should it take long? Or am I doing something wrong?

    gpg \-\-keyserver –recv-keys FB1A399A71409CDF
    gpg \-\-armor \-\-export FB1A399A71409CDF
    sudo apt-key add – // At this poitn I can’t get any further.

    Best regards

  13. Nicholas Lee Said,

    November 16, 2005 @ 7:02 am

    The “-” in “apt-key add -” means stdin. So you have to pipe “|” the output from “gpg \-\-armor …” to “apt-ket add -“.

  14. Kevin Ernst Said,

    December 7, 2005 @ 1:48 am

    Debian Sarge also required “debhelper,” which wasn’t mentioned. I second the motion for adding “automake1.4” as a requirement as well.

  15. Ragnars rablerier » FreeNX på Ubuntu Breezy AMD64 Said,

    December 17, 2005 @ 8:41 am

    […] Veiledning til byggingen finnes på […]

  16. David Sharnoff Said,

    January 21, 2006 @ 6:19 am

    Err, um, why hasn’t this been incorporated into Debian?

  17. AdrianTM Said,

    January 25, 2006 @ 8:46 am

    Good question, why is not part of Debian?
    Also that kanotix repo is not working anymore and all of the links I found on the web don’t work, that’s frustrating.

  18. Nicholas Lee Said,

    January 25, 2006 @ 11:11 am

    I’ll probably redo this work sometime soon for the latest version of FreeNX resources. However FreeNX itself has been slow recently. I think the developers have been focused more on klik. I’ve personally been too busy to follow anything up myself.

    Maybe I’ll get a wiki page organised or something.

  19. Iassen Hristov Said,

    February 11, 2006 @ 5:58 pm

    The repository seems to have moved to stable

    deb stable-backports nx
    deb-src stable-backports nx


  20. thibs Said,

    February 13, 2006 @ 12:23 pm

    Just to note that dpatch is also needed to build the freenx package.
    sudo apt-get install dpatch

  21. Marc Said,

    February 17, 2006 @ 3:46 pm

    This page shows you how to do it for Ubuntu (Breezy Badger) and it’s much easier and faster (no compiling):

  22. Matt Said,

    April 26, 2006 @ 10:01 pm

    Thanks Marc – just followed your link and it installed fine

  23. golden Said,

    May 29, 2006 @ 5:32 pm

    Perfect pages… tnx

  24. SiD3WiNDR’s Homepage » Blog Archive » FreeNX on Debian Sarge Said,

    October 6, 2006 @ 10:54 am

    […] I just set up FreeNX on my Sarge machine and it works really nice! I was hoping it would be able to "receive" remote desktop (rdc) connections and channel it to an X server (to use standard Windows CE/TS thin clients with a Linux server). I found the .deb’s too late, and as such followed another howto for Ubuntu . […]

  25. Caladan Said,

    February 7, 2007 @ 10:12 pm

    Try to get the sources from
    deb-src ./

    worked for me

  26. Alex Said,

    November 29, 2007 @ 5:04 am

    Seems none of the repositories work now… Anyone have an idea

  27. Nicholas Lee Said,

    November 30, 2007 @ 6:12 am

    You might try this page:

  28. Jerther Said,

    December 12, 2009 @ 6:30 pm

    I personally gave up trying to install this. Ran into too many problem and didn't even get to download the darn packages.

    I moved to free solutions. It took a couple of minutes, didn't have a single configuration to do and I was up and running. Running the server on debian 5 and running the client on fedora 12.

  29. Nicholas_Lee Said,

    December 13, 2009 @ 6:22 am

    I must admit it has been a while since I've used FreeNX. Not sure what its status is at the moment. Google also have NeatX, which is based on the Nomachine free libraries.

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