Remote Access with VNC

Virtual Network Computing (VNC) is a client-server application that

acts as a remote display system for graphical desktops. You run the VNC

server on one computer and the client on another, and the client can

access the server's "desktop." You can run the server on Linux, UNIX,

Windows, or a whole host of other platforms. The client application

then accesses the server-side desktop.

On Linux or UNIX, the server-side program acts as a virtual X Window

server with no real display (no monitor, etc...). You then run programs

to display on this virtual X server through the VNC client. You can

interact with the programs, and even have a number of users log on to

the same "desktop". The VNC client's greatest use seems to be for

remote access to Windows or UNIX systems, especially helpful for

dialing in from home.

The protocol between the client and server is somewhat compressed and

optimized. VNC works best over normal-speed networks, but, due to the

compressed protocol, it works better than many other remote access

packages over slower dialup lines. I found this especially true when

trying to run UNIX X Window applications over a dialup line. However,

VNC worked better than anything else I tried.

TightVNC (http://www.tightvnc.com) adds better bandwidth optimization

for slower connections and supports a number of enhanced features

including local cursor processing and secure tunneling under SSH.

However, TightVNC only provides UNIX, Linux, Windows, and Java versions.

Like TightVNC, Tridia (http://www.tridiavnc.com) also provides an

enhanced VNC for UNIX, Linux, and Windows. Tridia offers an enhanced

version with a streamlined installation, online help, improved

compression and enhanced security. Tridia also offers VNC-related

services. You can also purchase the entire package with printed manuals

and a CD-ROM.

The original VNC supports a larger set of operating systems, including

MacOS. VNC clients run on Linux, UNIX, Windows, and a host of other

platforms including Windows CE on the low end. There's even a version

for the PalmOS (http://www.icsi.berkeley.edu/~minenko/PalmVNC) and Java

applet client that you can run from a Web browser. You can download the

original VNC from http://www.uk.research.att.com/vnc/. A good manual

for using VNC resides at http://www.uk.research.att.com/vnc/docs.html

and a FAQ list at http://www.uk.research.att.com/vnc/faq.html.

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