The “desktop” images listed on https://alestic.com allow you to run a full Ubuntu desktop on an Amazon EC2 instance and access the desktop using NoMachine’s NX client from any Linux, Mac, or Windows computer.
WARNING! If you don’t absolutely need a desktop, please use one of the “server” AMIs instead. The desktop AMIs are many times larger and take many times longer to start up. The server AMIs are sleek, lean, and ready for service.
Since you didn’t listen to the advice in the previous paragraph, here’s how to set things up once you instantiate a desktop AMI. On the instance, create a system user (remember your new password):
apt-get update && apt-get upgrade -y user-setup
On your local computer, install and run an NX client from NoMachine.com
Clients available for Windows, Linux, Mac OSX, Solaris. For example, on my local Ubuntu system, I use:
wget http://188.8.131.52/download/3.4.0/Linux/nxclient_3.4.0-5_i386.deb sudo dpkg -i nxclient_3.4.0-5_i386.deb /usr/NX/bin/nxclient --wizard
Point the NX Client to the external hostname of your Ubuntu desktop EC2 instance and enter the username/password from above. Choose the “Gnome” or “KDE” desktop.