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Quest for intelligent remote x setup with laptop


I have a shiny new desktop machine, so I thought I'm gonna use my old
laptop as a X terminal to the desktop.
I tried remote session logins via XDMCP, VNC and a local X session at
the laptop with some apps started remotely (ssh-tunneled from the

Each of these solutions seems to have severe drawbacks:

*** XDMCP:
a) Fast over ethernet. No slowdown for local logins at desktop
b) Easy setup. In principle no difference in environment whether one
logs in at the display manager or at the laptop display manager

a) I can login either at the desktop or remotely at the laptop,
otherwise Gnome gets completely confused.
b) Xservers on desktop and laptop need to run in same solutions,
otherwise a remote login from laptop(800x600) messes up my desktop setup
(desktop display is 1280 x1024)

*** VNC:
I can be logged in from both machines

a.) To be able to be logged in from both machines, I have to run the
Xsession through VNC on desktop too. This slows down the display when
locally logged in at desktop
b.) The resolution problem is the same as with XDMCP

*** Local X session at laptop, some apps run remotely
fast, no hassle, no slowdown for desktop logins

Confusing directory structure, therefore user at laptop needs to
remember which apps run remotely (Save in $HOME from remote app -> file
not in $HOME of local laptop file manager)

So, that's where I am.
Are there other solutions I didn't think of? I know that I can NFS-mount
the desktop's /home at the laptop's /home. This would cure the confusing
directory structure problem I guess. But, I probably still would have
trouble with the saved positions of the apps, i.e. a login at the laptop
would mess everything up for the bigger display?? Also, it would
probably make the laptop unusable as a standalone machine?
Anything else I could do?

Thanks for input, M

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