Free remote control

Among the resources I use to research this newsletter are press releases, Web searches, vendor representatives and vendor employees. But the best source of information continues to be you, the reader. Many newsletters start as a question or comment from a single reader, like today's issue.

Actually, it’s the culmination of a number of questions and comments, but it started when one reader asked (in response to a newsletter about Microsoft's NetMeeting) why there was no NetMeeting for Windows CE. This lead to a newsletter extolling the practical applications of a NetMeeting-like application for Windows CE - and the boost it would give to sales of CE devices.

This brought in reminders that there was a CE client for Windows Terminal Server - and a full-blown Citrix ICS client for MetaFrame, on which Terminal Server is based. While not actually remote control, this does allow you to connect to your Windows NT/2000 network and administer it.

But even more remarkable is Virtual Network Computing (VNC), developed by AT&T's Cambridge, England, laboratories:

VNC is also free, under the GNU public license. VNC is both host and client software for remote control of multiple computers and operating systems, including Windows CE 2.

It’s a small (the Win32 version is only 150K!), simple and easy-to-use server and client similar to Unix's X-server technology, but with a stateless client. That is, if you start a remote session from one computer to edit a document, for example, you could go to another computer, start the client and connect to the same application. You'd find your cursor at the same point in the document as on the first platform.

VNC (both server and client) is available for the following platforms:

* Linux 2.x for x86.

* Solaris 2.5 (SPARC).

* Windows 9x/2000/NT (Intel Win32).

* Macintosh.

- 68K processor.

- PPC processor.

* DEC Alpha OSF1 3.2.

* Windows CE 2.x.

- SH3 processor.

- MIPS processor.

And, of course, the source code for each is freely downloadable (just in case you want to modify it for a different platform).

Remarkable, and free. Thank you, AT&T.

This story, "Free remote control " was originally published by Network World.

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