Probably the most useful Open Source tool of all (ok, maybe SSH is more useful), VNC was originally created by the AT&T Research facility in Cambridge and is a remote display protocol that, despite being rather inefficient (something modern forks try to improve upon, but certainly still less than RDP, has the advantage of being very simple and require only very light clients (the Windows binary is contained within just 230KB, and Java implementations can be downloaded on-the-fly from any browser).
Mac OS X includes a VNC server (check the Sharing preference pane, it’s part of Apple Remote Desktop).
Mac Screen Sharing
Apple uses a variant of the VNC protocol for its own screen sharing solution, and this article has some useful tweaks to the Leopard built-in client that I’m reproducing here for safekeeping:
Displaying a Bonjour browser
defaults write com.apple.ScreenSharing ShowBonjourBrowser_Debug 1
Displaying additional controls (pre-10.5.5)
defaults write com.apple.ScreenSharing \ 'NSToolbar Configuration ControlToolbar' -dict-add 'TB Item Identifiers' \ '(Scale,Control,Share,Curtain,Capture,FullScreen,GetClipboard,SendClipboard,Quality)'
In 10.5.5, Apple decided to get stingy again, so this workaround became necessary–which is kind of ridiculous.
When Snow Leopard rolled around, they broke even more of the UI, but it’s still possible to set display quality via a preference (via):
defaults write com.apple.ScreenSharing controlObserveQuality n
- black and white
- 8-bit color
- 16-bit color
- full color
A ctypes client that uses libvnc directly.
|Enhanced Full-Screen Clients|
with server-side scaling extensions
a client that renders on a DisplayLink device
a nice way to serve “Java”:dev/Java AWT applications
a Flash viewer
for Palm and Pocket PC, supports post-3.3 procotol versions and has a built-in SSH tunneler.
an intriguing way to share single windows
|Ultra VNC Single-Click Server||
a nice, customizable Windows server that helpdesk staff could e-mail to someone in need of help back when that was acceptable behavior.
allows single-window sharing
the original (and still the reference) implementation. Also has the most efficient client
|Vine Server (formerly called OSXvnc)||
native macOS server, supporting multiple simultaneous remote sessions
Finely tuned OpenGL encapsulation (with server-side hardware acceleration).
A reverse VNC connection tool for support purposes.
can take screenshots of a section of the display and save them in JPEG format
|Web Clients||Ajax VNC||
Clientless VNC solution implemented with canvas and a Java server
A decent, secure websockets/canvas client
|macOS||Chicken of the VNC||
No international key support, works OK with the built-in macOS server
The best client out there in terms of speed and international keyboard support.
partial support for non-US keyboards (but no dead keys) and very fast graphical updates.
My current (minimalist)
Xvnc startup file for Linux, so that I remember
SESSION_MANAGER is the right way to avoid complaints
$ cat .vnc/xstartup #!/bin/sh unset SESSION_MANAGER [ -x /etc/vnc/xstartup ] && exec /etc/vnc/xstartup [ -r $HOME/.Xresources ] && xrdb $HOME/.Xresources xsetroot -solid grey vncconfig -iconic & gnome-session &