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Using the Orbit Desktop Client

The Orbit desktop client is a background process that enables your local machine to run Athera like a desktop application, rather than through a browser. Orbit also includes a file transfer API. Running Athera through Orbit has a number of advantages:

Superior user experience - feedback and response times are improved by running Athera through the Orbit client.

Wacom tablets - fully integrated Wacom tablet support.

Clipboard integration - clipboard data can be copied and pasted between sessions.

Installing and Launching Orbit

1.   Go to, download, and install the recommended version of the Java SRE and Orbit client binaries and libraries for your operating system.

Warning:  Always use the Oracle build of the 64-bit Java SRE, even if you're running the Orbit Desktop Client on macOS.

2.   Open a command-line application, navigate to the folder where you extracted the Orbit binaries, and enter:





Note:  You can run the Orbit from the install directory by double-clicking the binary if you prefer.

The welcome screen is displayed.

3.   Click Log in.

A sign-in screen is displayed.

4.   Enter your Athera credentials and verification code from your authentication app and then click Log In. See Logging into Athera for more information on Athera's two-factor authentication process.

The API controls are displayed when you are successfully logged-in.

Note:  You only need to launch the Orbit client again if you log out or reboot your machine.

5.   Proceed to Activating Orbit in Athera.

Note:  If you intend to use the Orbit API, see Enabling the Orbit API Locally for more information.

Activating Orbit in Athera

Once the Orbit client is running, you need to activate the connection in Athera on the Sessions page. You only need to sign into the Orbit client once, the connection is persistent unless you log out or reboot your machine.

Note:  If the Orbit client times out after activation, a message displays reminding you to either relaunch Orbit or activate the Web service on the Account page.

1.   Sign-in to your regular Athera account using two-factor authentication here:
2.   Go to the Sessions page.

Under Orbit Clients on the left, you'll see a new entry starting with the Hostname of your local machine.

3.   Click Set Active to select Orbit as your preferred connection method.

Orbit is working correctly when the Hostname entry is Active and a check mark is displayed under Online.

4.   You can switch back to a browser-based connection by clicking Set Active against the Web entry on the Sessions page.
5.   Click the Apps page and launch a session as normal. See Launching an Application for more information.

You can now use Athera as you would using the browser-based version. The only difference with using the Orbit client is that Apps launch in a separate window, rather than in a browser tab.

Note:  Orbit clients launch in full-screen mode by default. To exit full-screen, press Ctrl/Cmd+Alt+Shift+F. On some machines running Windows 10, use Alt+Enter to exit full-screen mode.

Viewing Orbit Logs

Orbit generates two logs: an orbit.log and an orbit-session.log. The orbit.log file contains information about the Orbit Desktop Client's status, such as start up and close down times and client error details. The orbit-session.log contains information about sessions started in the client, such as session names and session error details.

Both types of log file are placed inside the .athera directory in your local machine's home directory, which differs by operating system:

Windows: C:\Users\<username>\.athera\orbit
For example: C:\Users\jimmy\.athera\orbit

Mac: /Users/<username>/.athera/orbit
For example: /Users/jimmy/.athera/orbit

Linux: /home/<username>/.athera/orbit
For example: /home/jimmy/.athera/orbit

Orbit and X Server on Linux

On some Linux distributions, the Orbit Desktop Client requires access to X Server to run correctly. If this is the case, the log file contains the following error:

Failed running TurboVNC executable error=exit status 1

To grant access to X Server:

1.   Open a Terminal on your local machine and enter:


The current user name is displayed.

2.   Enter:

xhost +SI:localuser:<username>

Where <username> is the result of the whoami command. For example:

xhost +SI:localuser:jimmy

The command line prints the following line if successful:

localuser:<user_name> being added to access control list

3.   Activate the Orbit client as normal and launch sessions in the client. See Activating Orbit in Athera for more information.