Remote PC Access; no more OpenVPN for me, just Anydesk & Zerotier !!

Discussion in 'Serious Discussion' started by smallhagrid, May 26, 2020.

  1. smallhagrid

    smallhagrid MDL Addicted

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    I’ve been using OpenVPN to access a distant network at a friend's place for about a decade.
    It was a total PITA to get working years ago & has also been a PITA whenever the DDNS used for it needed to be changed.

    The small network at my friend's place is ~120 miles away & I could not visit his place during the ongoing emergency conditions & he is not technically oriented enough to help me fix my remote access, sadly.

    This all became more important when I replaced my main PC at home with a box running Ubuntu 18.04.
    I tried everything I could find to get it to connect via OpenVPN, but it only failed.

    Trying to get help at the OpenVPN 'support forum' brought only contemptuous, denigrating replies as well as demands to pay nameless, faceless strangers just to tell me what I have to do rather than any helpful support.
    (A truly nasty forum that I will not bother with again.)

    My temporary solution was just to keep my old windoze box around for that connection and/or just use Anydesk when no file transfers were needed.

    Also in the meantime...
    During all the years since originally setting this up I have made a point to stay alert for better remote access options - and avoided all the nasty membership/app centered things (like Teamviewer, for example).

    The only exception was Anydesk in its free version, but sadly both OpenVPN & Anydesk connections have become incredibly slow via the heavily loaded internet in his small town lately.

    For me - the one good result of this crazy time has been the accelerated emergence and/or development of better remote access options and it has been a pleasure to see these things emerging & maturing.

    Wireguard came up for me 1st & looking into it revealed that it was not really a better option by itself;
    Next Tailscale came along - which looks to simplify Wireguard immensely...BUT=>

    Then came ZeroTier.
    Wow.

    To say that I am very favourably impressed by it is a huge understatement.
    So simple - so easily installed & set up - and FAST !!!

    In Ubuntu it installs & joins up with a mere 2 commands followed by making a single checkmark at the network page, then...BAM !!
    Open a remote viewer app to the newly added IP, and there is that desktop.

    It creates a whole new & additional virtual network for remote access and has shown me that OpenVPN needs to become extinct now because ZeroTier has (thus far…) been so vastly much better.

    Final result:
    I now have no further need to waste my time & efforts trying to ‘please’ the demands of OpenVPN, so=>
    For me, this means problem solved.

    Also:
    My friend now has both his home PC and his notebook PC on that same new virtual network and I have already used it to help him at his home from ~120 miles away.

    Multiple locations are another huge benefit of this new tool as I have some other friends who are MUCH farther away and was able to install this & join them into my virtual network in just minutes time.

    Is this perfect enough for the purists ??
    Most likely not, BUT;
    It serves well to provide for our needs at least during this crazy time.
     
  2. Garp _McGarpington

    Garp _McGarpington MDL Novice

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    No link. No mention if it's freeware, what it costs, etc... Reads like a badly-written marketing testimonial.
     
  3. smallhagrid

    smallhagrid MDL Addicted

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    #3 smallhagrid, May 31, 2020
    Last edited: May 31, 2020
    (OP)
    I am in NO manner, way, shape or form affiliated with any group or company mentioned in the OP.

    This thread was inspired to be AGAINST OpenVPN - and also to make mention of the several alternatives that I looked into in the most recent installment of my decade+ quest for the best possible remote access (for myself - but perhaps for others as well).

    @Garp _McGarpington (MDL Novice) :
    H
    ave you come to MDL to be a troll, make unwelcome critiques & snark at other members ??

    Or - perhaps this novice needs to learn what a search engine is ?? :
    But if that is too challenging - you can just paste ZeroTier into the URL bar (assuming you know what that is ??) as all newish browsers relate with such as a search request.
    (In most browsers now it is also possible to initiate a search via highlighting the desired term(s) & then just choosing to search on the menu from the drop-down options...)

    And just to point out, in case it was missed:
    I did make mention of the free version of Anydesk - and all those that I mentioned here can be used at a free level or are totally free.

    Afterthoughts=>
    I must wonder now if we'll see other members arriving here with such nicks as:
    'Snark_McSnarkington', or 'Snipe_McSnipeington', or even 'Troll_McTrollington' ???

    Another (seemingly endless) quest of mine is to locate a hierarchical note keeping app which has all these details covered:
    - Can be easily self-hosted on Linux based shared hosting;
    - Can be used & edited from anyplace via browser log-in;
    - Can stay sync'ed no matter whether accessed via desktop, notebook, smartphone, etc.;
    - Can accept new content via dropping in TXT files (like Zim actually does);
    - Is -NOT- from or based upon any SAAS.
    (TiddlyWiki in its older version ticked most of those boxes, but no longer does AFAIK.)

    Thus far it is a quest in progress which I hope to have a good 'find' on while I still remain amongst the living !!??
     
  4. smallhagrid

    smallhagrid MDL Addicted

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    So here I am again after a bunch of months have passed without any need to use OpenVPN at all anymore.

    After enough time & usage of both the free products that I've mentioned to make remote connections, I now have enough exposure that I can honestly post a real-life comparison here.

    Prerequisites for remote internet access usually include some combination of a domain & a means of updating for dynamic DNS as most ISP connections have IP addressing that changes from time to time & this was also needed for OpenVPN to work at all.

    Using Anydesk for free does still work without this as it works fine for individual PCs that can be very distant, but for accessing a LAN with very strong firewall protection, keeping the DDNS working is a good practice.

    Here's my comparison:

    Anydesk installed at each PC does a nice enough job at remote access, but:
    It can become very laggy & very obviously requires lots of constant bandwidth & speed or it gets difficult to use via becoming unresponsive & dropping connections.
    A really nice feature of it is when its main panel is open each saved connection shows either a green or red dot so its easy to tell if that PC is online or not.
    Then, making the connection is just a double-click & off you go.

    Zerotier is nicer in active usage IMO - it has yet to become laggy or drop even once in my plentiful usage of it.
    To be clear - making it work for remote access is a little more demanding than Anydesk is.
    Obviously Zerotier needs to be installed & active at both ends & it provides the IP addressing which is within your private network therein.
    Then:
    At the PC to be controlled, X11VNC server or something similar must be installed & ready to accept connections - and at the controlling PC something like Vinagre must be installed to make use of those connections.
    It is very easy to get the connection info from the My Zerotier site after logging in, if that info is needed;
    (My method is to keep both Vinagre bookmarks and a file of connection info for this.)

    With those things in place, getting connected is very easy & quick - just open Vinagre, either use a bookmark or enter an IP address, and off you go.

    Having both things set up & ready is a great goodness IMO & I highly recommend that setup for making certain you always have remote access.

    The very last thing to mention:
    Both of these are really easy to use in connecting between different OSes, with the small exception of any PC running anything older than win7, which Zerotier does not support, but Anydesk still does.
     
  5. gorski

    gorski MDL Guru

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    TeamViewer for me - easy-peasy and free for personal use, has a number of built-in things....

    Have you tried it? How do they compare, please, if you know...?
     
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  6. smallhagrid

    smallhagrid MDL Addicted

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    Hi Gorski & thanks for asking.
    Yes, TV is quite easy, and yes, I have used it - but not for quite a while.
    Back then it was for clients who needed for me to do some work with companies that used ONLY that.

    What I found:
    It puked files all over the client's systems in lots of places anytime it was used & its normal app removal didn't even touch that mess.
    After I found & cleaned up what it left behind it was needed some more - and so I tried out the portable version of it - and it also puked up nasty piles of junk all over their PCs - so again I cleaned the messes.

    My biggest objection next to that is the use of their servers as a man-in-the-middle - and it really isn't even true remote access IMO because the TV company is in control of the user's accesses & what features you can have for free.

    I'm sure that the TV company has even less respect now than it did then for what they dump into a user's PC - and when I tried using it again years later for a stubborn client from my Linux box to his - it was so fussy that it was a total non-option, so I got him to allow me to use Anydesk instead.

    Those I've mentioned as being good in this thread are really not much like TV at all IMO.

    HTH ??
     
  7. gorski

    gorski MDL Guru

    Oct 21, 2009
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    I'll have to try Anydesk, then... ;)

    TV has improved a great deal, I think, in terms of functionality, + you can use it on Android...

    I am uninstalling stuff (if I need to) using iObit's Uninstaller, which does a better job than Winbows...

    Cheerio!
     
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  8. ipx

    ipx MDL Addicted

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  9. gorski

    gorski MDL Guru

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    Thanx, iObit has a number of other functions I use.

    A ilso have another one, also good - but don't use it... ;)
     
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  10. bear_aussie

    bear_aussie MDL Senior Member

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    ive always been really happy with softether vpn for interconnecting netowks

    but op seems 2 be more into remote control than vpn so ...
     
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  11. smallhagrid

    smallhagrid MDL Addicted

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    Adding to this:
    When an app makes its initial disk writes and makes writes its install log - THAT is what either your OS or uninstaller depends upon to do its work - whether well or poorly.

    Sadly, neither your OS nor your uninstaller will be likely to find any/all of the OTHER filth which was created when that app was later used.

    Specifically in the case of TV, it created and left behind too much crud in too many different directories AFTER installation in my uses of it, which were then located & removed manually as well as its later added registry entries.

    ******************************************************************
    As to my own needs and uses of remote PC access:
    My friend's office is over 100 miles distant from my home, and driving there the ~2 1/2 hours (each way) for minor concerns would be outrageous, costly and outright silly as compared to having very solidly functional remote access - which I have and have detailed in this thread.
    Other folks whom I assist are even more distant - as in thousands of miles away on the other side of the US, so being able to assist them in the best ways possible is important to me.
    *******************************************************************


    Relating with the tangential diversions so often seen at forums nowadays, here is my own tangential contribution to this thread:
    It saddens me that when I share what has been very useful info (for myself and others) at MDL, it is too often misinterpreted as an invitation for some very troll-like members here to divert, dilute, and generally make uselessly unhelpful replies in very 'fecesbook' like ways.

    IMO, too much of (what used to be...) the tech realm has been over-run by rapper-wannabes who make lots of chatter - whilst giving nothing of any value to anyone else in that community...unless one values noise, disruptions & confusion.

    Community cooperation has been largely replaced with this confusion thereby making any notions of staying on-topic quite futile very often.

    Many older folks like myself have been taking their leave of great places after many years of enjoying them and have said openly that it is the futility of their efforts which has repelled them.

    This appears to be just one of the very discouraging results from the rampant narcissism which has been created & reinforced by the (anti-)social medias - which have destroyed countless relationships, lives and formerly great places thereby.
    (And BTW, the above addition here is NOT any sort of an invitation for trolls and/or flamers to take their always misguided potshots at me, thanks.)
     
  12. gorski

    gorski MDL Guru

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    Have you actually tried it, m8? Have you seen it at work?
     
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  13. smallhagrid

    smallhagrid MDL Addicted

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    Hello Gorski.
    Just seeking clarity here, please:
    Actually tried/used TV - is this what you mean above ??
    Or...different uninstallers ??

    Yes to both, until I finally gave up windows for the rest of this lifetime a little while back.

    I'm an old DOS guy - and knowing how things work and what remains unseen & hidden by clever windows paint jobs has been a very long standing hobby of mine, so:
    When I said that things made by TV later were not found by the uninstallers, it is based upon my own very real actions & observations.

    Disclaimer:
    XP was where my line was drawn.
    My windows uses ended when I saw the abortion called vista and when all those that came after it which have all been severely lobotomized - just like the chrome-ized browsers.
    All such things point clearly & directly at lacks of regard for users along with less and less ownership & control for the users.
    (Quite the opposite of what one gets in using Linux IMO.)
     
  14. gorski

    gorski MDL Guru

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    Agreed when it comes to Vista.

    Not too bad when it comes to W7... Truth be told...

    Yes, I rather agree with Linux project - but reality is such that it isn't quite as good on many levels that end users need... And one must not measure things by geeks but by lay users!

    iObit unistaller is a good tool, really, no kidding...
     
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  15. bear_aussie

    bear_aussie MDL Senior Member

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    idid my time using clis and editing config files & so i like windows (and mac os - guis in generel)

    linux feels like a huge step backwards
     
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  16. smallhagrid

    smallhagrid MDL Addicted

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    Here is all that vista was good for IMO:

    (And literally nothing else...)

    As to 7 (IMO) :
    Again IMO - 3 things made it unsuitable for use by anyone with any significant history of using any older windows based PC=>
    1 - No way to get a fully user controlled environment anymore - AKA - lobotomized;
    2 - Along the same lines even in the best version - control panel functions made stupidly difficult for real user control;
    3 - UAC - even if you shut it off;
    4 - The worst of it is the revamped explorer desktop and/or file manager which cannot be rolled back to anything better.

    Can it be tinkered into being more reasonable, sure - but is it worth the efforts IMO...no.

    Interesting choice of words here:
    Naming all of Linux as a 'project' makes it look like something likely to dry up & blow away - BUT:
    Linux powers ~90% of the internet servers in the entire world, 100% of the supercomputers, and basically ALL smartphones are related with it as the iapple things are just Unix cousins with a clever paint job - windows is now trying to take Linux over - and that other OS stole big time from Unix when it started.

    As to 'geeks vs. lay users':

    I have gotten everyone I know who is a desktop PC user into Linux - and not even ONE of these folks are techies or geeks.

    Those folks are all delighted with its stability & reliability - and that there is never, EVER anymore blue screens to frighten them.
    On top of that - for the most part, none of them even use an AV anymore & are happy not to be paying the 'antivirus tax' anymore.

    My own personally chosen tool for this WAS:

    Uninstall tool, for many good reasons - but now I need none as my OS handles that function very well on its own.

    All this having been said - am I anti-windows ??
    Nope.
    (But I do admit to despising all that its company stands for).

    Am I now a fervent Linux enthusiast ??
    Sure - why not.
    Linux has been excellent for my uses as well and for all the folks I've helped into using it for years already, since it finally became 'grandpa friendly' enough for me to recommend it exclusively.
     
  17. bear_aussie

    bear_aussie MDL Senior Member

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    #17 bear_aussie, Oct 28, 2020
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2020
    how is this relevant 2 the desktop
    how is this relevant 2 the desktop
    how is this relevant 2 the desktop
    micro (pc) os's (cpm, dos, windows, even os/2) are descended (either indirectly or spiritually) from dec os's - always have been
    even non ibm micros of the 70s & 80s had screen editors & clis closely modled on dec interfaces
    many eunuchs cant understand this 4 some reason & falsely attribute things 2 unix that digitial were doing in the 60s b4 unix was even herd of
    u can never overstate the effect digital had (& still has) on personal/micro computing

    unix was always a weird niche product & is only getting attention now thru linux bcuz its a src-avaliable freebie
    its why unix never got traction on the desktop & linux is only used in embedded cheap s**t (yea, server is "embedded") like the billion dead wordpress blogs u mention, iot rubish, etc

    edit: & the most successful commercial unix ever by far (macos/ios) hides its underpinnings as much as possble
    the most successfully linux "distro" (android) does exact the same
    draw ur own coclusions
     
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  18. ipx

    ipx MDL Addicted

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    well said +1

    & counting...

    by the way, since you dared to disagree with the supreme leader, edit : supreme poster, be prepared for his wrath. as usual you will be labelled as a troll for sure ;)
     
  19. bear_aussie

    bear_aussie MDL Senior Member

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    #19 bear_aussie, Oct 28, 2020
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2020
    i hav an old saying of my own
    suspect its been sed b4 but it goes likes this:

    "I've been called far worse, by far better."

    edit: quick google shows its a variation of sumthing pierre treadeu said in the 70s
     
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  20. smallhagrid

    smallhagrid MDL Addicted

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    #20 smallhagrid, Oct 28, 2020
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2020
    (OP)
    I am so very, very, VERY fortunate to have such loyal and determined FOLLOWERS !!!

    Truly, it is AMAZING - each & every time I post anything here, there's this ill-tempered bear guy & network protocol named guy that simply MUST show their wonderful devotions;
    THANK YOU - THANK YOU - THANK YOU !!!

    Of course it is also makes me a little sad for these folks, because they are very visibly, clearly & obviously suffering with ODD (just like so many others whose development is in an arrested state) - but there is no help for that unless they choose to help themselves...sigh.
    Just another little sign of these times. (Gives me even MORE to be thankful for actually.)

    Oh - sorry Dear FOLLOWERS - that acronym must surely baffle you, so here, I can help with that info:
    Oppositional Defiant Disorder.
    It used to be attributed mostly to those in their teen years, but not anymore.

    Must be time for me to go on a new thread binge, then just wait a minute for my so-devoted FOLLOWERS to come around and show their dedicated devotions.

    And best of all:
    No real effort is needed on my part - these folks just follow me around - I don't even need to whistle, or clap, or say anything like "Heeeere FOLLOWERS, please come" - nope, not at all, they just come right along ever so faithfully, every time.

    It is truly wonderful - I'm so very grateful too, as it saves me from needing to bump any thread(s) or replies that I make.

    Thank You so very much, My Dear FOLLOWERS !!!

    I am so very, very, VERY fortunate to have such loyal and determined FOLLOWERS !!!

    (I do so look forward to seeing whatever powerfully oppositional and defiant negativity that you will bless all the members here with next... Hmmmm...maybe I should take up following your content here... nah, that is too much like stalking.)
    ((Oh wait - that is EXACTLY what my devoted FOLLOWERS have been doing in my service here, but since it is ONLY negative words it is harmlessly impotent, so no biggie - just good for bringing me some laughs, so my thanks go out to you again, my very dear FOLLOWERS.))

    :clap3::cheers::clap::flowers::mml::yes::biggrin5::good3::biggrin3::dance::thumbsup::kissin::hangloose::gkiss::bkiss::bye3:
    And finally in closing - to My Dear FOLLOWERS:

    Please accept my Very Best Wishes for Happiness, Health, Long Lives and Abundance.
    :bkiss::gkiss::kissin: