Virtual Network Computing (VNC)

Probably the most useful Open Source tool of all (ok, maybe is more useful), 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 , has the advantage of being very simple and require only very light clients (the binary is contained within just 230KB, and implementations can be downloaded on-the-fly from any browser).

includes a server (check the Sharing preference pane, it’s part of Remote Desktop).

Mac Screen Sharing

uses a variant of the 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 browser

defaults write ShowBonjourBrowser_Debug 1

Displaying additional controls (pre-10.5.5)

defaults write \
'NSToolbar Configuration ControlToolbar' -dict-add 'TB Item Identifiers' \

In 10.5.5, decided to get stingy again, so this workaround became necessary–which is kind of ridiculous.

When rolled around, they broke even more of the UI, but it’s still possible to set display quality via a preference (via):

defaults write controlObserveQuality n

…gives you:

  1. black and white
  2. grayscale
  3. 8-bit color
  4. 16-bit color
  5. full color



My current (minimalist) Xvnc startup file for Linux, so that I remember that unsetting SESSION_MANAGER is the right way to avoid complaints from gnome-session:

$ cat .vnc/xstartup
[ -x /etc/vnc/xstartup ] && exec /etc/vnc/xstartup
[ -r $HOME/.Xresources ] && xrdb $HOME/.Xresources
xsetroot -solid grey
vncconfig -iconic &
gnome-session &

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