How to Install Apache Guacamole on Ubuntu

This brief tutorial shows students and new users how to install and configure Apache Guacamole Remote Desktop Connection (RDP) tool on Ubuntu 20.04 | 18.04.

For those who don’t know, Apache Guacamole is free, open source clientless remote desktop gateway. It supports standard protocols like VNC, RDP, and SSH.

Because it uses HTML5, all you need to do is connect to the server via a web browser and start accessing remote machines.

No software to install, nothing to setup. Simply browse and connect to any remote hosts defined in the portal.

To get started with installing Apache Guacamole on Ubuntu, please follow the steps below:

Install dependencies

Before installing Guacamole, you’ll need to install required dependencies to be able build it from source.

Run the commands below to update Ubuntu and install these packages.

sudo apt update
sudo apt install make gcc g++ libcairo2-dev libjpeg-turbo8-dev libpng-dev libtool-bin libossp-uuid-dev libavcodec-dev libavutil-dev libswscale-dev freerdp2-dev libpango1.0-dev libssh2-1-dev libvncserver-dev libtelnet-dev libssl-dev libvorbis-dev libwebp-dev

After installing the packages above continue below.

Install Tomcat Server

Apache Guacamole uses Tomcat to connect clients to remote hosts via its web portal.

Since you’re going to need Tomcat, run the commands below to quickly install version 9 on Ubuntu.

sudo apt install tomcat9 tomcat9-admin tomcat9-common tomcat9-user

After installing Tomcat above, the commands below can be used to start and enable it so that it automatically startup when you boot up the machine.

sudo systemctl start tomcat9
sudo systemctl enable tomcat9

To verify that Tomcat is installed and running, run the commands below:

sudo systemctl status tomcat9

That will display similar lines as below:

● tomcat9.service - Apache Tomcat 9 Web Application Server
     Loaded: loaded (/lib/systemd/system/tomcat9.service; enabled; vendor prese>
     Active: active (running) since Fri 2021-02-26 16:12:16 CST; 55s ago
       Docs: https://tomcat.apache.org/tomcat-9.0-doc/index.html
   Main PID: 8809 (java)
      Tasks: 29 (limit: 4654)
     Memory: 81.0M
     CGroup: /system.slice/tomcat9.service
             └─8809 /usr/lib/jvm/default-java/bin/java -Djava.util.logging.conf>

Feb 26 16:12:27 ubuntu2004 tomcat9[8809]: Deployment of deployment descriptor [>

Install Guacamole

Ubuntu doesn’t have Guacamole packages it its repositories. If you want to install Guacamole in Ubuntu, you’ll need to compile the source and build it yourself.

The steps below will show you how to do that.

To start compiling Guacamole, run the commands below to download version 1.3.0.

cd /tmp
wget https://downloads.apache.org/guacamole/1.3.0/source/guacamole-server-1.3.0.tar.gz

Once the downloaded run the commands below to extract the download package.

tar -xvzf guacamole-server-1.3.0.tar.gz

After extracting the file, change into the extracted folder and run the commands below to check that all requirements are met.

cd guacamole-server-1.3.0
sudo ./configure --with-init-dir=/etc/init.d

When you run the above, you’ll see confirmations that packages and requirements are met. When everything checked out, run the commands below to begin the installation.

sudo make
sudo make install
sudo ldconfig

After installing, the commands below can be used to start and enable Guacamole service to always startup when the system is booted.

sudo systemctl enable guacd
sudo systemctl start guacd

To verify that Guacamole is installed and functioning, run the commands below:

sudo systemctl status guacd

That should display something similar to the lines below:

● guacd.service - LSB: Guacamole proxy daemon
     Loaded: loaded (/etc/init.d/guacd; generated)
     Active: active (running) since Fri 2021-02-26 16:22:10 CST; 8s ago
       Docs: man:systemd-sysv-generator(8)
    Process: 20381 ExecStart=/etc/init.d/guacd start (code=exited, status=0/SUC>
      Tasks: 1 (limit: 4654)
     Memory: 10.0M
     CGroup: /system.slice/guacd.service
             └─20384 /usr/local/sbin/guacd -p /var/run/guacd.pid

Feb 26 16:22:10 ubuntu2004 systemd[1]: Starting LSB: Guacamole proxy daemon...

Install Guacamole Client

After installing the server above, continue below to install its client. The client is a Java based and uses HTML5 to make connections to remote machines.

Run the commands below to download the Java client.

wget https://mirrors.estointernet.in/apache/guacamole/1.3.0/binary/guacamole-1.3.0.war

After downloading the file, copy it to the /etc/guacamole directory using the following command:

sudo mkdir /etc/guacamole
sudo mv guacamole-1.3.0.war /etc/guacamole/guacamole.war

After that run the commands below to create a symbolic link of guacamole client to Tomcat webapps directory.

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

When you’re done, restart Tomcat8 and Guacamole services.

sudo systemctl restart tomcat9
sudo systemctl restart guacd

After restarting, continue below.

Configure Guacamole

At this point you’ll want to configure Guacamole configuration file. Run the commands below to create a config properties file.

sudo nano /etc/guacamole/guacamole.properties

Add these lines into the save the save.

guacd-hostname: localhost
guacd-port: 4822
user-mapping: /etc/guacamole/user-mapping.xml

Save the exit when done.

Next run the commands below to create two directories for libraries and extensions.

sudo mkdir /etc/guacamole/{extensions,lib}

You’ll also want to set guacamole home directory environment variable in /etc/default/tomcat9 configuration file.

sudo sh -c "echo 'GUACAMOLE_HOME=/etc/guacamole' >> /etc/default/tomcat9"

After that, create a user-mapping.xml file. This file will contain settings to access the web portal.

You’ll need a password hash for the user-mapping configuration. To generate a password, use the commands below.

echo -n type_your_password_here | openssl md5

Replace type_your_password_here with your real password. That should out a password hash. Copy the hash value to use in the config below.

(stdin)= 36160e235d67eb4d4e234r449a4798ee37a8d

Next, run the commands below to create a new user-mapping.xml

sudo nano /etc/guacamole/user-mapping.xml

Then copy and paste the content below into the file and save.

<user-mapping>
    <authorize 
            username="admin"
            password="36160e235d67eb4d4e234r449a4798ee37a8d"
            encoding="md5">

        <connection name="Ubuntu20.04-Server">
            <protocol>ssh</protocol>
            <param name="hostname">192.168.1.2</param>
            <param name="port">22</param>
            <param name="username">root</param>
        </connection>
        <connection name="Windows Server">
            <protocol>rdp</protocol>
            <param name="hostname">192.168.2.3</param>
            <param name="port">3389</param>
        </connection>
    </authorize>
</user-mapping>

Save and exit.

Next, restart Tomcat and Guacamole service to apply the changes.

sudo systemctl restart tomcat9
sudo systemctl restart guacd

That should do it.

Open your browser and browse to the server hostname or IP address as shown below:

 http://localhost:8080/guacamole

You should then see Guacamole portal to login.

Enter the username and password you defined in the user-mapping file above.

That’s it!

Conclusion:

This post showed you how to install Apache guacamole on Ubuntu 20.04 | 18.04. If you find any error above, please use the form below to report.

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5 Replies to “How to Install Apache Guacamole on Ubuntu”

  1. Thanks a lot, that has been extremely useful to me. You nailed this with great details and sincerely, thank you !

  2. Thank you for the tutorial, but could you posting again to add database authentication guacamole and enable history connection and even better to add recording session remote :D… sorry to much to ask

  3. not sure what I screwed up, but I can’t log in…the PW hash in the config file is what got generated, reset the services again and still no dice. Any ideas?

  4. regarding my 1st post – found the F-up…left a space behind the user-mapping.xml filename

  5. I followed all the steps and I get a 404 error when I try to access the portal. Do you have an idea of what could be the issue? Thanks

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