Remote GUI access with VNC


Article from Issue 85/2007

Once you only needed a command line to access remote computers, but today’s networks sometimes require a graphical connection. The VNC protocol provides a practical cross-platform screen sharing solution. We’ll take a close look at VNC and show you some leading no-cost VNC applications.

I work in a data center with hundreds of machines spread over two buildings. Usually we can perform the necessary management functions for the Linux and Unix systems using ssh; however, in a number of cases, a tool we need may not have a command-line interface, or the remote system may be running some version of Windows that requires access to the GUI. Virtual Network Computing (VNC) is a popular alternative for sharing screens on heterogeneous networks. VNC beha-vior is slightly different from the X Windowing system. One difference is that VNC shares the entire desktop. A user on one machine can see the current desktop of a user on another and control the mouse and keyboard of the remote system. This feature is useful for a range of activities, such as accessing a work computer from home, working with students in a training environment, providing tech support, or annoying your son while he’s playing video games.

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