25

rdesktop and xfreerdp are both linux clients for RDP.

However from their respective websites it is not clear what advantages/drawbacks of using one over other are there.

I found one post, which indicated that xfreerdp has more features than rdesktop.

  • But what are these extra features?
  • How is the performance (or responsiveness) and clipboard support in both of them?

I am looking forward to use a RDP client (on Linux Mint 17) to connect to few Windows computers (Win 7 and 8) and linux servers running xrdp.

  • Best RDP client I've found so far is KRDC – Creek Jul 1 '14 at 2:00
  • In my case xfreerdp allowed me to use both microphone and headphones, while with rdesktop I couldn't manage to get the microphone working in XP. – YoMismo Jan 30 '15 at 9:04
  • Recent versions of KRDC use xfreerdp under the hood. – kbulgrien Jan 15 '18 at 20:44
19

FreeRDP (xfreerdp, whose Debian package name is freerdp-x11) is considerably less used than rdesktop according to the Debian Popularity Contest stats, in part because it is so much newer:

#rank           name  inst vote   old recent no-files (maintainer)
1429        rdesktop 56497 4281 41399  10775       42 (Laszlo Boszormenyi)
3056     freerdp-x11 14232 1389  9845   2992        6 (Mike Gabriel)

According to FreeRDP on Wikipedia,

FreeRDP was forked in 2009 from rdesktop with the aim of modularizing the code, addressing various issues, and implementing new features.

... but Wikipedia's list of features do not break out which came from rdesktop and which are "new." The FreeRDP 1.0 release announcement (Jan 2012) did offer this list of new features, which presumably are not also available on rdesktop:

  • RemoteFX
    • Both encoder and decoder
    • SSE2 and NEON optimization
  • NSCodec
  • RemoteApp
    • Working, minor glitches
  • Multimedia Redirection
    • ffmpeg support
  • Network Level Authentication (NLA)
    • NTLMv2
  • Certificate validation
  • FIPS-compliant RDP security
  • new build system (cmake)
  • added official logo and icon

FreeRDP also has a server (listed as experimental in the 1.0 release) while rdesktop does not.

6

For anyone coming to this:

Among all rdp clients out there, which i tried, when connecting to windows server on azure, all worked except rdesktop which seems to have problem with recent protocol version. See here https://bugzilla.redhat.com/show_bug.cgi?id=1075697 → uninstall!

freerdp (xfreerdp on debian) rocks. Check their github https://github.com/FreeRDP/FreeRDP

2

Other answers to this question fail to point out that freerdp appears not to work with Windows NT 4.0 Terminal Server:

On the other hand, I have successfully used rdesktop (w/grdesktop) to connect to Windows NT 4.0 Terminal Server.

  • 8
    Windows NT4 reached EOL in 2004, you should really not be using that anymore and if you really have to (I cannot think of a valid reason to), it should not be networked. Imho, this "feature" is thus moot. – thecarpy Jan 15 '18 at 20:59
  • 1
    @thecarpy : as it is not always an option to avoid using old tools and as, out of necessity, I spent a lot of time finding out freerdp's failing for myself, it is decidedly not a moot point. – kbulgrien Jan 15 '18 at 21:24
  • 1
    You might want to consider running your NT system on a virtual machine and being very very careful about what can access it across your network (firewall firewall firewall!). Try to use VM tools like shared folders and KVM rather than networking and Remote Desktop. – Adam Katz Jan 16 '18 at 20:59
  • 1
    @Adam Katz : All the NT security comments are off-topic as they neither query nor clarify anything for the information presented. Sometimes people just have to use what they are given to use. – kbulgrien Jan 17 '18 at 2:33
  • 3
    @kbulgrien : Off topic, maybe, but here we have a fellow running a system on a network that has at the very least dozens of unpatched remote exec vulns that do not even require user credentials... – thecarpy Jan 18 '18 at 8:55

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