Install Apache Guacamole on Ubuntu 22.04

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In this guide, we are going to learn how to install Apache Guacamole on Ubuntu 22.04. Apache Guacamole is a clientless HTML5 web based remote desktop gateway which provides remote access to servers and desktops through a web browser. It supports standard protocols like VNC, RDP, and SSH.

Using Portainer to Deploy Guacamole...
Using Portainer to Deploy Guacamole Docker - Web Based Remote Access Gateway

Install Apache Guacamole on Ubuntu 22.04

Guacamole is made up of two parts;

  • guacamole-server, which provides the guacd proxy and all the native, server-side components required by Guacamole to connect to remote desktops.
  • guacamole-client which provides the client to be served by the servlet container which is usually Tomcat.

You need to install both of these components to setup Apache Guacamole web-based remote desktop client.

Guacamole is available on the default Ubuntu 22.04 repositories. However, available version is not up-to-date;

apt-cache policy guacd
guacd:
  Installed: (none)
  Candidate: 1.3.0-1.1
  Version table:
     1.3.0-1.1 500
        500 http://ke.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu jammy/universe amd64 Packages

To get the latest release version of Guacamole running on Ubuntu 22.04, you need to build it from the source.

Building Guacamole-Server on Ubuntu 22.04

To build guacamole-server, download the latest source archive tarball from Guacamole releases page. Guacamole 1.4.0 is the latest release version as of this writing. You can simply run the command below;

wget https://downloads.apache.org/guacamole/1.4.0/source/guacamole-server-1.4.0.tar.gz

Once the download is done, extract the source tarball.

tar xzf guacamole-server-1.4.0.tar.gz

Navigate to guacamole server source code directory;

cd guacamole-server-1.4.0

Run the configure script to check if any required dependency is missing and to adapt Guacamole server to your system.

Ubuntu 22.04 ships with OpenSSL 3.x and Guacamole requires openssl 1.x to successfully compile and install. The warning related to this are treated as errors and thus the compilation process will fail. As a result, you can disable the Warnings from being treated as errors and compile Guacamole on Ubuntu 22.04.

CFLAGS=-Wno-error ./configure --with-systemd-dir=/etc/systemd/system/

For more configure options, run, ./configure --help.

------------------------------------------------
guacamole-server version 1.4.0
------------------------------------------------

   Library status:

     freerdp2 ............ yes
     pango ............... yes
     libavcodec .......... yes
     libavformat.......... yes
     libavutil ........... yes
     libssh2 ............. yes
     libssl .............. yes
     libswscale .......... yes
     libtelnet ........... yes
     libVNCServer ........ yes
     libvorbis ........... yes
     libpulse ............ yes
     libwebsockets ....... yes
     libwebp ............. yes
     wsock32 ............. no

   Protocol support:

      Kubernetes .... yes
      RDP ........... yes
      SSH ........... yes
      Telnet ........ yes
      VNC ........... yes

   Services / tools:

      guacd ...... yes
      guacenc .... yes
      guaclog .... yes

   FreeRDP plugins: /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/freerdp2
   Init scripts: no
   Systemd units: /etc/systemd/system/

Type "make" to compile guacamole-server.

Pay attention to out of the configure script.

Compile and install Guacamole Server on Ubuntu 22.04;

make
make install

Next, run the ldconfig command to create the necessary links and cache to the most recent shared libraries found in the guacamole server directory.

ldconfig

Running Guacamole-Server

Start and enable guacd (Guacamole Daemon) to run on boot after the installation.

systemctl enable --now guacd

To check the status;

systemctl status guacd
● guacd.service - Guacamole Server
     Loaded: loaded (/etc/systemd/system/guacd.service; enabled; vendor preset: enabled)
     Active: active (running) since Mon 2022-05-02 17:16:05 UTC; 8min ago
       Docs: man:guacd(8)
   Main PID: 27069 (guacd)
      Tasks: 1 (limit: 2241)
     Memory: 10.0M
        CPU: 11ms
     CGroup: /system.slice/guacd.service
             └─27069 /usr/local/sbin/guacd -f

May 02 17:16:05 jellyfish systemd[1]: Started Guacamole Server.
May 02 17:16:05 jellyfish guacd[27069]: Guacamole proxy daemon (guacd) version 1.4.0 started
May 02 17:16:05 jellyfish guacd[27069]: guacd[27069]: INFO:        Guacamole proxy daemon (guacd) version 1.4.0 started
May 02 17:16:05 jellyfish guacd[27069]: guacd[27069]: INFO:        Listening on host 127.0.0.1, port 4822
May 02 17:16:05 jellyfish guacd[27069]: Listening on host 127.0.0.1, port 4822

Install Tomcat Servlet

Apache Tomcat is used to serve guacamole client content to users that connects to guacamole server via the web browser. To install Tomcat, run the command below;

apt install tomcat9 tomcat9-admin tomcat9-common tomcat9-user -y

Tomcat9 is started and enabled to run on system boot upon installation.

If UFW is running, allow Tomcat  through it.

ufw allow 8080/tcp

Installing Guacamole Client on Ubuntu 22.04

guacamole-client contains provides web application that will serve the HTML5 Guacamole client to users that connect to your server. The web application will then connect to guacd on behalf of connected users in order to serve them any remote desktop they are authorized to access.

Create Guacamole configuration directory;

mkdir /etc/guacamole

Download Guacamole-client Binary

Guacamole client can be installed from a source code or from ready binary. Binary installation is used in this demo. Download Guacamole-client from Guacamole releases page for the respective latest version (v1.4.0 as of this writing) and store it in the configuration directory created above;

wget https://downloads.apache.org/guacamole/1.4.0/binary/guacamole-1.4.0.war -O /etc/guacamole/guacamole.war

Create a symbolic link of the guacamole client to Tomcat webapps directory as shown below;

ln -s /etc/guacamole/guacamole.war /var/lib/tomcat9/webapps/

Restart Tomcat to deploy the new web application;

systemctl restart tomcat9

Restart guacd daemon as well;

systemctl restart guacd

Configure Apache Guacamole on Ubuntu 22.04

Guacamole has two major configuration files; /etc/guacamole which is referenced by the GUACAMOLE_HOME environment variable and /etc/guacamole/guacamole.properties which is the main configuration file used by Guacamole and its extensions.

There are also guacamole extensions and libraries configurations. You need to create the directories for these configs;

mkdir /etc/guacamole/{extensions,lib}

Set the guacamole home directory environment variable and add it to /etc/default/tomcat9 configuration file.

echo "GUACAMOLE_HOME=/etc/guacamole" >> /etc/default/tomcat9

Configure Guacamole Server Connections

To define how Guacamole connects to guacd, create the guacamole.properties file under /etc/guacamole directory with the following content.

vim /etc/guacamole/guacamole.properties
guacd-hostname: localhost
guacd-port:     4822
user-mapping:   /etc/guacamole/user-mapping.xml
auth-provider:  net.sourceforge.guacamole.net.basic.BasicFileAuthenticationProvider

After that, save the configuration file and link the Guacamole configurations directory to Tomcat servlet directory as shown below.

ln -s /etc/guacamole /usr/share/tomcat9/.guacamole

Configure Guacamole Authentication Method

Guacamole’s default authentication method reads all users and connections from a single file called user-mapping.xml. In this file,you need to define the users allowed to access Guacamole web UI, the servers to connect to and the method of connection.

Therefore, run the command below to create this file with the following contents.

vim /etc/guacamole/user-mapping.xml

Be sure to replace password with your strong password.

<user-mapping>
        
    <!-- Per-user authentication and config information -->

    <!-- A user using md5 to hash the password
         guacadmin user and its md5 hashed password below is used to 
             login to Guacamole Web UI-->
    <authorize 
            username="guacadmin"
            password="5f4dcc3b5aa765d61d8327deb882cf99"
            encoding="md5">

        <!-- First authorized Remote connection -->
        <connection name="CentOS-Server">
            <protocol>ssh</protocol>
            <param name="hostname">192.168.56.156</param>
            <param name="port">22</param>
        </connection>

        <!-- Second authorized remote connection -->
        <connection name="Windows 7">
            <protocol>rdp</protocol>
            <param name="hostname">192.168.56.122</param>
            <param name="port">3389</param>
            <param name="username">koromicha</param>
            <param name="ignore-cert">true</param>
        </connection>

    </authorize>

</user-mapping>

Generate the MD5 hash of passwords for the user used for logging into Guacamole web user interface. Replace you password accordingly;

echo -n password | openssl md5
printf '%s' password | md5sum

If you need to explicitly define usernames and passwords, add the parameters;

<param name="username">USERNAME</param>
<param name="password">PASSWORD</param>

Save and exit the configuration file.

You can check how to enable Guacamole OpenLDAP Authentication;

Setup Apache Guacamole OpenLDAP Authentication

Restart both Tomcat and guacd to effect the changes.

systemctl restart tomcat9 guacd

Be sure to check the syslog, /var/log/syslog or /var/log/tomcat9/CATALINA-* for any issues.

Accessing Apache Guacamole from Browse

Once Guacamole is setup, you can access it from web browser using the address http://server-IP:8080/guacamole.

Install Apache Guacamole on Ubuntu 22.04

Upon successful login, you get to Apache Guacamole web dashboard and you should be able to see the added connections.

Install Apache Guacamole on Ubuntu 22.04

Click on a connection to name to initiate remote login. For example, SSHing into my CentOS-serve gets a me password prompt since we already defined the user;

Install Apache Guacamole on Ubuntu 22.04

To login to Windows 7 via RDP, just click on Windows 7;

Install Apache Guacamole on Ubuntu 22.04

And there you go. Enter your password and proceed to your desktop.

If windows login fail with the error;

Guacamole: How to fix RDP server closed/refused connection: Security negotiation failed (wrong security type?)
Guacamole Windows RDP Connection Issue

The follow the guide below to fix it;

Guacamole: How to fix RDP server closed/refused connection: Security negotiation failed (wrong security type?)

You can now add more connections to your Guacamole. That marks the end of our guide on install Apache Guacamole on Ubuntu 22.04.

Read more on Guacamole.

Configure TOTP Two-Factor Authentication on Apache Guacamole

Configure Guacamole MySQL Database Authentication

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