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Technology-LiveWe're two 20 year olds building free open source software and we just launched our new project Ulterius: a brand new way to access your computer from any web browser. AMA!

Sep 6th 2016 by codeusasoft • 30 Questions • 1099 Points

Who We Are

Just two people who love FOSS.

What the heck is Ulterius

Ulterius is an open-source, free software utility that provides users with complete access to their computer, all from their browser. You can do everything from remote-desktop to web cam streaming and we're getting more features by the day. You can find more information on our blog here

Proof https://ulterius.io/reddit.txt

Want to help out?

We are always looking for more contributors, even the smallest commits make a difference.

Official site: https://ulterius.io/

Source code: https://github.com/ulterius

You can also follow the development on Twitter

https://twitter.com/Andrewmd5/

https://twitter.com/frobthebuilder

https://twitter.com/ulteriusapp

Ask us anything!

Q:

Are you concerned that your project name looks a lot like "uterus"?

A:

I embrace it


Q:

You've stated that it's a brand new way to access your computer from a browser. But in what ways?

A:

The focus of the project is to create a simple to use solution that gives you instantaneous access to various parts of your machine. So if you just need to start a process or download a file, you can do that without actually needing to do a full remote desktop session, of course you still have that option.


Q:

Okay, great. But how is that different from other web based clients that allow you to do the exact same thing?

A:

I'm not sure any exist that match our project, let alone work in the browser. Check out our blog for details on all our features.

https://blog.ulterius.io/meet-ulterius/


Q:

Apache Guacamole?

A:

Guacamole is simply remote desktop and nothing else. This is a complete administration solution that allows a multitude of different things.

In addition some features coming out this month include job/script scheduling, plugin support and a more advanced remote terminal. The benefit of Ulterius is that you're able to take advantage of your computer, without needing to completely remote inside it thus saving bandwidth and increasing productivity.


Q:

Seconded. These two cover just about everything I could imagine wanting to use.

A:

Well just to give you and /u/Dudebromancer a heads up Google is killing Chrome apps on every OS except ChromeOS so Chrome Remote Desktop will be losing support soon.


Q:

Um .... Teamviewer have a web client, I almost exclusively use it for machine access

A:

TeamViewer is simply a remote desktop application, Ulterius focuses more productivity and ease of access. While Ulterius has screen share abilities, it gives you the tools needed to avoid needing such a session.


Q:

So this lets you do the same things that remote desktop solutions or SSH let you do?

Or does the tool give you some special UI for specific tasks, on top of being a remote desktop solution?

A:

It isn't just remote desktop. you can check it out for yourself right here https://blog.ulterius.io/meet-ulterius/

We have a lot more administration features planned for this month.


Q:

I suppose I didn't ask the right question. How are your administration capabilities meaningfully improved over what other web based or native remote desktop do?

I'm not so much asking about what your software is or what it does. I'm asking why I should consider using this instead of, say, plain old remote desktop?

It may seem obvious to you that the extra features you built are different than how remote desktop does it, but that doesn't seem obvious to me. Is it just another way to peel a banana, or is it a better banana peeler?

A:

If we're just focusing on remote desktop, Ulterius has less of a footprint on your network, in test we attempted to playback a video using RealVNC which had data usage sitting at 60mbps, it would refresh the entire frame each second, thus you weren't able to achieve smooth playback. With Ulterius however you saw data usage peak around 1.5mbps while maintaining 30fps playback. That's just remote desktop.

Ulterius gives you the tools to access and manage your computer without ever needing to use remote desktop. Try it, its free after all.


Q:

How are you financing this?

A:

Entirely self-funded at the moment.


Q:

will it stay that way?, or are you planning to put ads later if ends don't meet?

A:

There will never be ads, we have plans for centralized commercial features and those will be paid. The core features will always be free and open source however.

From the start we said if we ever added commercial features they would be affordable, we believe it shouldn't cost you more than a sandwich too get your foot in the door.


Q:

Is any information collected? If your servers were to get "hacked" would that give the hackers the ability to remotely use your desktop easier? What measure do you guys take to ensure safety from these type of threats?

A:

We ask to collect hardware information for development reasons, it helps us better understand the types of systems running Ulterius and in some cases fix rare bugs. You can deny the request, you get a prompt when you first run the software.

Nothing routes through our servers, so even if our servers got hacked, your computer would still be fine. You can control if Ulterius can even be connected to outside your local network. All traffic is encrypted and is only ever between you and your computer.


Q:

Nothing routes through our servers

How do you reach a computer behind a NAT? Do you need to remember your home IP to reach your home computer? What if your IP is dynamic, would we need a domain?

A:

Traversal servers will be setup soon, the easiest solution if you have a dynamic IP would be to use a free dns solution. We also plan to offer subdomains


Q:

Speaking of bugs where do we report? My install was unsuccessful, error said "Ulterius Server setup ended prematurely because of an error."

A:

You can open an issue here

https://github.com/Ulterius/server/issues


Q:

How is safety on this in terms of Security? :) This sounds neat btw. I love seeing new project ppl are working on. Any views on how this will change current ways to remote desktop? Ill give it a try and read up more on it. Good luck!

**Reading the blog helped a lot lol. This sounds pretty awesome!

A:

Ulterius uses AES/RSA to encrypt traffic, nothing is in plaintext. It uses a similar handshake to TLS. Instructions for installing a certificate will be on the wiki very soon. The login currently supports local and domain account authentication. There are plans to make it extendable into custom methods of validation (say by your own api). 2-FA authentication is coming in the next major update.

Hopefully it encourages people to move away from overpriced solutions as we start rolling out more and more commercial features.


Q:

What core problem do you believe you're solving by creating this software?

As an experienced coder, I can ssh into my own computer at any point and do the things you're saying you can do. As a non-coder, what do I gain by having this access?

A:

Remote desktop lacks innovation, all the major solutions you see do the same thing, however with Ulterius you're able to do more using less; I can kill an unresponsive process, I can turn on a webcam to see what my cats up to, I can flush my dns, all without ever remoting into the actual desktop. Because it works in the browser, you never have to worry about losing access. You may not always have an SSH terminal on hand, but you will always find a web browser.


Q:

How does Ulterius handle multiple monitors on remote machines?

That seems to be the main falling-down point for remote desktop software, IMO.

A:

Monitor switching is coming in the next patch, right now it defaults to the primary. With the next patch you should be able to quickly go from monitor to monitor.


Q:

Mac support on the roadmap? Or will this be left up to someone else to develop a Mac server? How about mobile clients?

How will this be monetized?

What data passes through your servers during use, and what is the encryption situation?

Is direct connection / self-hosting possible, to avoid data passing through your servers?

What does your service do differently to avoid the account-based vulnerabilities that hit TeamViewer?

A:

Mac, Linux, Android and iOS are all coming. Mac is scheduled for the end of October with Linux following shortly after. The native apps are being worked on currently as well.

As for making money, I answered that here

Nothing passes through our servers, the connection between you and Ulterius however is protected using AES and RSA. You'll have the ability to install your own SSL certificate in a few days. Ulterius is already self-hosted.

Because Ulterius was designed with self-hosting in mind, account authentication is based on your actual Windows account (local or domain), because of this even if our main site was ever hacked you'd never see your machine at risk.

We do plan to eventually add some centralized features and measures will be taken then to avoid anything like the TeamViewer breach ever happening.


Q:

This seems like a really cool project. Is the login method independent of the current network that the server computer is on? For instance, if my computer is connected to an internal University network, a typical FTP setup won't work unless I got the University IT department to do some port forwarding. Will I run into any issues like this when using Ulterius?

A:

This attempts to use UPNP to give you public address access, I would say your best bet is to try and if it doesn't work I will add it to the TODO list for the week.


Q:

Does the world needs another PC remote access solution? There are so many and they have been around for as long as the internet!

A:

Innovation is needed when older solutions stagnate.


Q:

Can I open and edit files on my computer with the application that is installed? Example: Editing and saving an Adobe Illustrator files from the web browser. Follow up question: Can I also use all of the short cuts I have set up?

A:

If you use the screen share feature, yes.


Q:

[deleted]

A:

I'll be sure to check out your project, I love seeing other peoples solutions. We started seriously working on Ulterius about 8 months ago, it started as a media remote and became this.


Q:

It IS. All the client code runs locally and only reaches out to your host after it's loaded. It could be loaded from wherever you want, even locally if you prefer.

A:

as you will need to have a webserver

You don't. You install Ulterius on your machine and that is it, the only way you're going to "crack" a machine is to know its username and password, if that happens only that single machine is compromised.

Like any remote administration solution, you have something running on the target machine. You are directly connecting from your browser to the machine.


Q:

First off, this is awesome! I'm very excited to try this out.

Secondly, have you done any experiments using this through nginx or other reverse proxy setups?

Obviously some of us aren't keen on straight port forwarding and would prefer an ssl encrypted reverse proxy.

Thanks!

A:

You can find an example reverse proxy config on our blog post here


Q:

Can this work exclusively with ipv6? I've been looking for a solution that works across Direct Access

A:

Should work fine. I am ipv6 across the board.


Q:

Do you like pizza? If so, what kind?

Do you like Mario or Luigi better?

A:

I prefer meatballs

Luigi ;)


Q:

What are your day jobs?

A:

I'm a software engineer at a data firm.


Q:

Given all the static in the press about dark agencies and their incessant insistence on spying on everyone in the name of security; How can you ensure that my accessing my files will be secure and no open to attack?

A:

The source code is open for review, traffic is encrypted and the only time data leaves your machine is when you connect to it. No 3rd parties involved.


Q:

NAT traversal?

A:

What issues would that be?


Q:

I am at work so can't test, but have you any experience with this on Windows 10 mobiles Edge browser?

A:

Works fine in Edge


Q:

Really interested in this product. Can you provide me with an example of how this is helpful. And also there is a company with the EXACT same name, advertising you as a data cloud service/ routers. Can you explain?

A:

This is a complete administration solution that allows a multitude of different things. In addition some features coming out this month include job/script scheduling, plugin support and a more advanced remote terminal. The benefit of Ulterius is that you're able to take advantage of your computer, without needing to completely remote inside it thus saving bandwidth and increasing productivity.