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New Splashtop variant to let you access Ubuntu desktop from anywhere

Ubuntu users in need of a way to reach their desktop via a smartphone or tablet can now use Splashtop Streamer, just like their Mac and Windows peers, thanks to a new beta release that supports the Linux-based operating system.

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Users can install the free Ubuntu package on their home computers, and use Splashtop's array of mobile apps to connect remotely via an Android or iOS device. (A monthly subscription fee of $1 or a yearly price of $10 must be paid in order to do anything but connect across a LAN, however, and some tablet variants of the mobile app also cost a few bucks.)

Splashtop asserts that it's ready to be an attractive alternative to standard virtual network computing and other remote desktop technologies, and expanding onto Linux is an important step.

According to Splashtop Chief Marketing Officer Cliff Miller, more technologically savvy users are more likely to demand Linux support than the general public -- something that helped push Splashtop toward an Ubuntu release.

"We've actually had a Linux version in our R&D shop for quite a while now," says Miller. "So from that standpoint, it was not a huge challenge for us -- we just needed to 'product-ize' it."

Other Linux distributions "should work" with the new version of Streamer, he says, though they're not officially supported and it will likely take some tweaking on the user's end. Official releases for non-Ubuntu distributions aren't out of the question, however, and could yet be created based on customer demand.

In a statement, Splashtop also touted an adjustable video framerate and custom port number settings -- features not present in the Mac or Windows versions of Streamer.

"We're giving the user a few ways to tweak the configuration files to stream at different frame rates, which we think Linux folks will appreciate," said Splashtop founder and CEO Mark Lee.

Email Jon Gold at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter at @NWWJonGold.

Read more about software in Network World's Software section.

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