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frugal technology, simple living and guerrilla large-appliance repair
Tue, 26 May 2015

Dodgy Windows 8 leads to me running Citrix on Fedora Linux

I wasn't even going to write about how I used to run Citrix on Windows 8 instead of Linux on my HP laptop because my particular Citrix-delivered application reacted poorly to the horrible DSL Extreme broadband service at home and its frequent (every three minutes or so) total dropouts. Maddeningly, the crucial link to "reconnect" to my application was present the Firefox and Chrome web browsers under Windows but absent in those same browsers under Linux.

No, I was instead going to write about how to configure Citrix in Linux to allow you to access local drives via your Citrix apps. I'd like to thank the Ubuntu community for that very helpful portion of an overall Citrix-on-Linux page that has helped me many times.

But since I'm already going this road, here is how and why I decided to do my Citrix-based production work in Fedora Linux instead of Windows 8.

Initially I thought I "had" to use Windows for the ungainly Citrix-delivered apps that my employer requires, including Adobe InCopy (which I wouldn't wish on anybody) and a proprietary CMS from Hell. That was when I was having Internet issues at home and kept getting disconnected from my Citrix apps.

But since then I've "solved" my broadband issue, and the connection is slow yet consistent (as opposed to slightly faster but extremely inconsistent; thanks DSL Extreme, who I'm dropping as soon as my contract ends).

So once I had "consistent" broadband, I thought I was home free. I could run my Citrix apps under Windows 8 (the 8.1 upgrade fails for me every time, probably because I dual-boot Fedora, and an encrypted Fedora at that) and all would be well.

Except that Win 8 started crashing. Yeah, I'm stressing the #$%& out of it, but that's how I work.

I'd be doing my thing, using my Citrix apps, the Chrome browser and a few other critical applications (IrfanView image editor under Wine, which I use because I can push photos with it quicker than anything else; the gFTP FTP client, also super-fast, and also because FileZilla has been broken in Fedora for a while; the gedit and Geany text editors, Geany more lately because it makes it easy to set the Windows-compatible line endings I need for InCopy, a woeful piece of software I'd never wish on anybody).

And the screen would just freeze. Nothing short of a hard reboot would bring it back.

Even without the screen freezing, when using the Chrome browser in Windows 8, once I had a dozen or so tabs open, the laptop started heating up to 160 degrees F, then 180 F with the CPU fan blowing like crazy.

Doing the same tasks in Fedora 21, the HP Pavilion g6-2210us laptop runs between 110 degrees F and 135 F, never getting past 150 F.

So I decided to do my production work in Citrix (and the various other apps I need -- text editor, image editor, FTP client, web browser) in Fedora.

But I had to follow certain rules to keep from losing my Citrix apps' connection.

First rule is: NO virtual desktops. Switching virtual desktops breaks my Citrix app's connection with the server. Why? Because Citrix codes for Linux but doesn't really understand the platform. Or the app I'm using really, really sucks. Could be both.

Second rule is: Don't suspend the laptop while using Citrix apps.

Third rule is: Don't even let the screensaver turn on. I have the screensaver in Xfce (yep, that's the DE I'm using) set to never turn on when the laptop is plugged into AC power.

Fourth rule is: Eat kosher salamis.

Lest you think Ubuntu = Easyand edora = For Experts Only when it comes to Citrix, I can never seem to get it set up in Ubuntu. It's been a lot easier to get it working in Fedora, where ironically I've gotten some very helpful tips from the Ubuntu community help pages on installing and configuring Citrix.

With Fedora 21, I get no screen freezes, no crashes, no overheating.

And that's why Linux beats Windows for a task that I previously thought Windows would handle much better.