Making Debian experimental's X2Go Server Packages available on Ubuntu, Mint and alike

Often I get asked: How can I test the latest nx-libs packages [1] with a stable version of X2Go Server [2] on non-Debian, but Debian-like systems (e.g. Ubuntu, Mint, etc.)?

This is quite easy, if you are not scared of building binary Debian packages from Debian source packages. Until X2Go Server (and NXv3) will be made available in Debian unstable, the brave testers should follow the below installation recipe.

Step 1: Add Debian experimental as Source Package Source

Add Debian experimental as source package provider (and immediately install the Debian Archive Keyring package):

$ echo "deb-src experimental main" | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/debian-experimental.list
$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get install debian-archive-keyring
$ sudo apt-get update

Step 2: Obtain Build Tools and Build Dependencies

When building software, you need to have some extra packages. Those packages will not be needed at runtime of the built piece of software, so you may want to take some notes on what extra packages get installed with the below step. If you plan rebuilding X2Go Server and NXv3 several times, then simply leave the build dependencies installed:

$ sudo apt-get build-dep nx-libs
$ sudo apt-get build-dep x2goserver

Step 3: Build NXv3 and X2Go Server from Source

Building NXv3 (aka nx-libs) takes a while, so it may be time to get some coffee now... The build process should not run as superuser root. Stay with your normal user account.

$ mkdir Development/ && cd Development/
$ apt-get source -b nx-libs

[... enjoy your coffee, there'll be much output on your screen... ]

$ apt-get source -b x2goserver

In your working directoy, you should now find various new files ending with .deb.

Step 4: Install the built packages

These .deb files we will now install. It does not hurt to simply install all of them:

sudo dpkg -i *.deb

The above command might result in some error messages. Ignore them, you can easily fix them by installing the missing runtime dependencies:

sudo apt-get install -f

Play it again, Sam

If you want to re-do the above with some new nx-libs or x2goserver source package version, simply create an empty folder and repeat those steps above. The dpkg command will install the .deb files over the currently installed package versions and update your system with your latest build.

The disadvantage of this build-from-source approach is (it is a temporary recommendation until X2Go Server & co. have landed in Debian unstable), that you have to check for updates manually from time to time.

All X2Go compoments are packaged by the still quite fresh Debian Remote Packaging Maintainers team, you may want to visit the DDPO page of our team:

Recommended versions

For X2Go Server, the 4.0.1.x release series is considerably stable. The version shipped with Debian has been patched to work with the upcoming nx-libs 3.6.x series, but also tolerates the older 3.5.0.x series as shipped with X2Go's upstream packages.

For NXv3 (aka nx-libs) we recommend using (thus, waiting for) the release. The package has been uploaded to Debian experimental already, but waits in Debian NEW for some minor ftp-master ACK (we added one binary package with the recent upload).


  • 2017-04-25: Information on how to install the debian-archive-keyring package before downloading any other packages from the Debian archive servers has been added.
  • 2017-04-25: Mention the Debian Remote Maintainers team and its DDPO page. Plus some grammar fixes.