Remote control, screen sharing, and terminal service in Linux



You can optimize your network by letting your systems share screen images, CPU cycles, and even mouse clicks. This month we look at remote control and terminal service technologies.

Control has always been easy with Unix-based systems like Linux. In the old days, simple tools let the user open a remote connection for command-line access. The rise of the graphic interface brought new complication to this simple formula. In recent years, the economies of thinclient alternatives have added emphasis to the long-neglected terminal service model, and virtualization has focused renewed attention on the task of reaching other systems from a single keyboard and mouse.

This month’s cover story examines some tools and techniques for remote control, screen sharing, and terminal service. We start with a look at the VNC (Virtual Network Computing) remote access protocol. We’ll show you how VNC differs from the X Window system, describe some tips for working with VNC, and review some popular no-cost VNC applications, such as TightVNC, RealVNC, MetaVNC, and UltraVNC.