FreeRDP-WebConnect is an open source HTML5 proxy that provides web access to any Windows server and workstation using RDP. The result is amazing, especially considering that no native client is required, just a plain simple web browser!
HTML5 has came a long way in the last few years, with any major web browser (including mobile platforms) supporting WebSockets, the underlying communication mechanism employed by FreeRDP-WebConnect.
Here’s a list of supported desktop and mobile browsers:
- FireFox >= 11.0
- Chrome >= 16.0
- Internet Explorer >= 10
- Safari >= 6
- Opera >= 12.10
- Safari Mobile >= 6
- Android Browser >= 4.4
Supported client desktop OSs:
Windows, OS X, Linux
The FreeRDP-WebConnect service itself can be installed on most recent Linux distributions and on every x86 and x64 Windows versions starting with Windows Server 2008:
- Windows Server 2008 / Windows Vista
- Windows Server 2008 R2 / Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 / Windows 7
- Windows Server 2012 / Hyper-V Server 2012 / Windows 8
- Windows Server 2012 R2 / Hyper-V Server 2012 R2 / Windows 8.1
How to install FreeRDP-WebConnect on Windows
The installation on Windows is really easy. To begin with, download the installer from our website and run it:
Accept the license, select the installation type and optionally change the install location:
Next comes the HTTP and HTTPS configuration. You can just accept the defaults and go on with “Next” or replace the options to match your environment. Make sure to choose ports not used by other services. The installer will create a self signed certificate for HTTPS, no need to worry about it. Windows firewall rules are also automatically created if enabled.
The OpenStack settings are required only if you intend to use this service with OpenStack, otherwise you can skip them. Authentication URL, tenant name, username and password can be retrieved from your OpenStack deployment, while the Hyper-V host username and password are required to connect to RDP consoles and can be either local or domain credentials.
We’re done with the configuration, press “Next” and the the installer will complete the installation.
Once done, point your browser to “http://localhost:8000” (or a different port if you changed it above) and you’ll see the initial connection screen (using Chrome on OS X in this example, but any of the options listed above is also valid):
Set the host, username and password and click connect:
That was it, connected! A native client will still have an edge in terms of performance, but for a lot of scenarios a pure web client enables an amazing whole lot of new possibilities!
Integration with OpenStack
We integrated RDP support in Icehouse, on both Nova and Horizon. All you have to do to make it work is to specify the url of your FreeRDP-WebConnect service in the Hyper-V Nova compute nodes as detailed below and restart the nova-compute service. The Hyper-V Nova compute installer takes care of these settings as well of course!