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Which VNC Software Is Best? 680

Posted by timothy
from the connect-the-dots dept.
Futurepower(R) writes "Which VNC software do you think is best, and why? There are several free programs, for example, TightVNC, RealVNC, UltraVNC, and TridiaVNC. Or, is it better to pay for VNC software, like Tridia VNC Pro or Radmin? Which is fastest, most secure, and the least hassle? Which has video resolution scaling of the remote desktop?"
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Which VNC Software Is Best?

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  • Obviously (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 19, 2004 @10:09PM (#10571627)
    UltraVNC [sourceforge.net] because their website has a picture of a girl.
  • vino (Score:5, Informative)

    by auzy (680819) on Tuesday October 19, 2004 @10:10PM (#10571634)
    vino's included in gnome 2.6 and uses the new xorg extensions making it very very fast
  • by fozzy(pro) (267441) on Tuesday October 19, 2004 @10:10PM (#10571635)
    tight vnc has delivered better video and a more stable comneection for me both over a local netowrk at college and phone modems at home.
    • by cbreaker (561297) on Tuesday October 19, 2004 @10:12PM (#10571658) Journal
      Yea, me too. It's not fantastic, being VNC after all. But it works pretty well, good video quality over a slower connection too. TightVNS is stable too.

    • by dtfinch (661405) * on Tuesday October 19, 2004 @10:33PM (#10571830) Journal
      TightVNC works pretty well for me, with a few notable issues. I use it exclusively. But on occasion the display updates would just stop, and I'd have to restart the client. Also the client would occasionally crash with an error like unknown colorkey, I forgot the exact text. Using 1.2.9. Haven't checked the latest to see if the bugs have been fixed.

      As for security, if you have it set to turn off wallpaper, it turns it off upon every connection attempt, before authentication. It's a pretty resource intensive action. I've been able to use this to DOS my home pc's, opening hundreds of connections. The system bogs down with a rapid flashing of the desktop reminiscent of the japanese seizure robots.

      I suppose I should file bug reports for all these.
    • Now I've found tight to be somewhat unstable on my Windows boxes - all XP or 2000. Tight seems to crash expecially when using "best" compression.
  • Actually (Score:3, Funny)

    by NoMoreNicksLeft (516230) <john@oyler.comcast@net> on Tuesday October 19, 2004 @10:10PM (#10571638) Journal
    I'd go for the first to support OS/2.
    • Re:Actually (Score:3, Informative)

      by picket4all (823705)
      A VNC viewer for 32-bit OS/2 PM has been available since yr 2000:

      http://www.sra.co.jp/people/akira/os2/vnc-pm/

      A native 32-bit OS/2 PM version of a VNC server has been coded by russian programmers this year (2004).

      It's here:
      http://eros2.by.ru/pmvnc_en.shtml So there :-P And yes, some of us still run 32-bit OS/2 with SMP, JFS, Mozilla 1.7, OpenOffice, gcc, wget, you name it. Why go multi-user if there's only one person sitting in front of each PC at a time? :P

  • UltraVNC (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AKAImBatman (238306) * <akaimbatman@gmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Tuesday October 19, 2004 @10:10PM (#10571639) Homepage Journal
    Let's think about this for a moment. UltraVNC is the only Windows VNC that acts like a video driver. THus it's the only one that doesn't need to poll the hell out of your computer. Thus it's the only one that gets all the screen updates right.

    Pinky, are you thinking what I'm thinking?
    • Re:UltraVNC (Score:2, Informative)

      by jtriska (520530)
      And its FAST.

      Plus, its still backwards compatible with the standard/original vnc, so you can connnect to it even without the optimized windows UltraVNC client.

    • Re:UltraVNC (Score:5, Informative)

      by drulez (67289) on Tuesday October 19, 2004 @10:18PM (#10571710) Homepage
      actually ... tightvnc 1.3.x supports a video driver.

      additionally, enhancements have been made to
      the polling algorithm which have greatly improved
      performance and cpu usage.

      1.3.x is labelled a development version,
      but it's very stable. check it out.
    • Pinky (Score:5, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 19, 2004 @10:23PM (#10571752)
      Pinky, are you thinking what I'm thinking?

      Uh... yeah, Brain, but where are we going to find rubber pants our size?
    • Re:UltraVNC (Score:5, Informative)

      by Com2Irq5 (662435) on Tuesday October 19, 2004 @10:23PM (#10571755)
      UltraVNC crashes on Windows machine with an ATI All-In-Wonder Video Card. It also has problems on machines with multiple monitors.
    • Re:UltraVNC (Score:5, Funny)

      by magefile (776388) on Tuesday October 19, 2004 @10:24PM (#10571762)
      THus it's the only one that doesn't need to poll the hell out of your computer ... Pinky, are you thinking what I'm thinking?
      Narf, I think so Brain, but where are we going to get enough punchcard ballot machines for all the voters in Florida by midnight November 1st?
    • Wrong... (Score:3, Informative)

      by node159 (636992)
      RealVNC uses the DFMirage hook display driver, these I suspect are used by UltraVNC as well as a host of other ones I suspect.
  • VNC on Mac OS X (Score:5, Informative)

    by daveschroeder (516195) * on Tuesday October 19, 2004 @10:10PM (#10571642)
    For Mac OS X, there are several options; what I believe to be the best options are below.

    On the server end of things, there's OSXvnc [redstonesoftware.com], a nice free VNC server for Mac OS X. (There's even an OS9vnc, on the same page.)

    The best free client for Mac OS X, in my opinion, is Chicken of the VNC [sourceforge.net].

    At the commercial end of the spectrum is Apple Remote Desktop 2.1 [apple.com]. Apple Remote Desktop is much more than just a remote control solution; it provides desktop and systems management tools, software distribution tools, mass screen sharing, scripted actions, and all sorts of other features. But as of version 2, the remote screen protocol is based on VNC. With one checkbox, any VNC client can connect to any machine running Apple's VNC server software (which it confusingly calls "Remote Desktop Client"), and Apple's client software (which it calls "Remote Desktop Admin") can connect to ordinary VNC servers on any platform. Apple Remote Desktop does automatic resolution scaling, full screen, etc., and as of 2.1, even supports multiple monitors - even when using free VNC clients to connect! The VNC server piece (the one Apple calls "Client") is free, but there's a catch: at least one copy Remote Desktop Admin is required to be "legal", but then Remote Desktop Client can be installed on an unlimited number of machines in your organization.
  • VNC?? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Mori Chu (737710) on Tuesday October 19, 2004 @10:11PM (#10571644)
    I wouldn't use any of em; can't trust the VNC. Lousy Vemocrats!!!
  • by netnerd.caffinated (473121) on Tuesday October 19, 2004 @10:11PM (#10571649)
    as a user of the original REAL VNC, i went to tight case it performed much better over dialup
  • Wow..! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ID000001 (753578) on Tuesday October 19, 2004 @10:11PM (#10571651)
    The only VNC i have used is RealVNC, PCanywhere (Old) and Remote desktop for MS windows. I realize the best and most speedy one out of them all are actually Remote desktop that came with WindowsXP Pro and such.. I still use RealVNC for internet connection. The Java browser that does not requires software download are particularly useful. But perhaps it is time to check out the alternative... I didn't realize there are so many out there at all!
    • I realize the best and most speedy one out of them all are actually Remote desktop that came with WindowsXP Pro and such..

      You haven't tried Citrix. :-D
    • RDesktop != VNC (Score:5, Informative)

      by rmdyer (267137) on Tuesday October 19, 2004 @10:55PM (#10571978)
      Remote desktop is not the same beast as VNC. VNC and derivatives are based on getting bits and pieces of your desktop video image that change, then compressing them (or not), and sending them to the other end. Once on the other end, they are decompressed (or not) and blitted to a video buffer to build up an image. That's it. That is all VNC does. It gives you an image of what is going on on the remote end.

      Remote desktop however is a bit different. It doesn't give you just an image of what is occuring on the other end. Remote desktop is a stripped down single user terminal server. When you connect to an XP or 2000 machine using RD, then the remote XP machine redirects all local console functions of that machine to your client. This has the effect of knocking out whoever is sitting at the local console of the machine you are RD'ing into. In effect, all video operations are redirected to an off-screen video buffer, then compressed, and sent on their way using the remote desktop protocol. The sucky thing about this is that remote desktop only allows one and only one console session to exist.

      Remote desktop also encrypts the entire session using 128 bit encryption. It even allows you to redirect your local disks and printers to the remote machine for use. You can use this feature for a sort'of poor mans VPN. All the data moved through the redirected drives will be encrypted and moved over the RDP port.

      Remote desktop is faster than VNC because Microsoft is able to perform tricks in kernel space. For example, if you fire up windows media player to view a video file, then that data doesn't have to be rendered at all on the remote machine. Microsoft simply streams it to your client machine using RDP. The same thing however won't work with Apple QuickTime or RealPlayer. I'm also not entirely sure whether the windows are even drawn to video first. Microsoft may be pulling some redirection of GDI commands so that RD acts somewhat like X in that respect.

      Our site uses VNC for user desktop support since the video is shared with the user. We use remote desktop for server management. Remote desktops feature for helping the user is problematic at best becuase they have to invite you to join first. It whole invitation thing is simply cumbersome. That's why it is just simpler to use VNC.

      So, there are positives and negatives to using VNC or RD.

      +1
      • Re:RDesktop != VNC (Score:4, Informative)

        by Malc (1751) on Wednesday October 20, 2004 @12:14AM (#10572420)
        "When you connect to an XP or 2000 machine using RD, then the remote XP machine redirects all local console functions of that machine to your client. This has the effect of knocking out whoever is sitting at the local console of the machine you are RD'ing into."

        No it doesn't. It's just how they've implemented Terminal Services under Win XP - they don't allow concurrent users.

        "Remote desktop is faster than VNC because Microsoft is able to perform tricks in kernel space. For example, if you fire up windows media player to view a video file, then that data doesn't have to be rendered at all on the remote machine. Microsoft simply streams it to your client machine using RDP"

        Try creating a filter graph for DVD playback. It won't work.
      • Re:RDesktop != VNC (Score:4, Informative)

        by gregorio (520049) on Wednesday October 20, 2004 @06:47AM (#10573841)
        Remote desktop is faster than VNC because Microsoft is able to perform tricks in kernel space. For example, if you fire up windows media player to view a video file, then that data doesn't have to be rendered at all on the remote machine. Microsoft simply streams it to your client machine using RDP. The same thing however won't work with Apple QuickTime or RealPlayer.
        Actually, no. RD is faster than VNC because RD sends *high level* information about what's happening on the screen instead of sending every single pixel involved in the operation. Ex: When the server's GDI subsystem draws a gradient window caption, the other side just receives a "Gradient Caption" command, instead of a zillion bytes worth of pixels.

        There is no kernel space conspiracy in this case. BTW, there is *no* kernel space conspiracy in *every single case* where Windows is better than (put your favorite open source project here). Slashdotters talk about kernel space like it's some kind of magical execution privilege where code is executed at 10GHz.

        When you're dealing with networking software, you still have to properly format your data to send it across the network, and there is no kernel magic that will help you with that. The same thing also applies to most kinds of software: all the data processing that your application depends upon can not be replaced by any kind of "kernel-space magic", you still need an efficient implementation, and you will have to do it by yourself.
        I'm also not entirely sure whether the windows are even drawn to video first. Microsoft may be pulling some redirection of GDI commands so that RD acts somewhat like X in that respect.
        Well, if you're not sure about how stuff works, then... Well, nevermind.
        • Re:RDesktop != VNC (Score:3, Informative)

          by moonbender (547943)
          I think when he referred to "kernel space" he was referring to the system authority that has access to the high level informations you referred to.
          The Windows VNC servers all don't have a clue about any or at least much of the semantics on the screen: it's just one big bitmap. Okay, they have figured out about there being various windows, and a main window, so they're starting to acquire additional "meta-information" to the bitmap.
          The window manager - that is, an X server on Unix and the operating system ("
      • by PsychoSlashDot (207849) on Wednesday October 20, 2004 @07:58AM (#10574052)
        On Win2k Server (the only Win2k with Remote Desktop/Terminal Services), Remote Desktop allows two RDP "sessions" plus the local console. No provision is made to EVER remote-control the console session. Remote sessions are limited to Administrator users.

        On Win2k3 Server, as in Win2k, you are limited to two simultaneous RDP sessions, but you are now able to /console and remote the console 0 session itself, if you so desire. This is optional.

        These two above are _without_ having purchased any Terminal Services CALS or any additional software.

        Finally, with WinXP SP2, it is entirely possible to configure (via a registry setting) the OS to allow a RDP session separate from the console 0 session. There is significant discussion over the topic of if this feature made it into SP2 release, or was pulled in late beta. I can say that I have seen it work on a SP2 release system. There may be specific caveats such as the PC not being in a domain, and having "Fast User Switching" enabled (as the one, peculiar PC where this happened to me would have been configured), but the functionality is definitely there.

        Finally with regards to WinXP, given another system, it is possible to use the command-line shadow command (ex. shadow 0 /server:COMPUTERNAME) to shadow the console session of a logged-in user and leave them logged in and able to control the session as you do with PCAnywhere/VNC. This must be done from an existing Remote session (good for remoting to a customer's server, then shadowing a desktop to work on things). There is a Group Policy setting (SP2 ADMs, folks) that lets you set permissions-requirements, so the user is not required to ALLOW you to do this.

        The point is that there is much more to the Remote Desktop remote administrator and XP RDC functionality than meets the eye if you merely click the icon.
  • Fastest (Score:5, Informative)

    by Cthefuture (665326) on Tuesday October 19, 2004 @10:13PM (#10571661)
    If we're talking Unix(ish) systems then the fastest and most functional on fast connections (like ethernet) is actually "none of the above". A normal X11 session is much more smooth and responsive than any VNC. Endless scaling, etc...

    And Terminal Services on Windows is much better than VNC (there are Unix clients).

    Over slow connections VNC is better. I just use whichever works. I've found that RealVNC locks up/crashes Windows less often than the others.
    • Re:Fastest (Score:5, Informative)

      by jag164 (309858) on Tuesday October 19, 2004 @10:24PM (#10571760)
      Your mileage may vary.... I find that VNC beats the living heck out of X11 sessions (at least the various windows X servers). Plus the whole shaky/burping LAN makes VNC such a nicer alternative in the MS-to-Unix world. Unix-to-unix I typically only use X over ssh for quick and dirty activiys, not heavy multi terminal coding sessions.
    • Re:Fastest (Score:5, Interesting)

      by harikiri (211017) on Tuesday October 19, 2004 @10:28PM (#10571797)
      Something interesting I read about when I was looking for alternatives to X (even on local lan it can perform poorly). These figures are in comparison to Nomachine's NX technology [nomachine.com]:

      The basic stuff is opensource. And the numbers I heard about this are pretty nice:

      • 9600 Baud GSM modem link over vanilla X: Mozilla-1.6 needs 4000 roundtrips and takes 5 minutes.
      • 9600 Baud GSM modem link over NX: Mozilla-1.6 needs a dozen roundtrips and takes 20 seconds.
      • KDE-3.2 desktop startup over vanilla X: transfers 4.8 MByte of data.
      • KDE-3.2 desktop startup over NX: transfers 35 kByte of data.

      This was cut and pasted from an email I sent to workmates a while back when I heard about NX initially. These days I prefer to use RealVNC (until I get around to buying a copy of NX) to connect to my XFCE session at home from the office.

      Even on what you consider a fast connection (local ethernet) I prefer VNC over X11.

  • by chrispyman (710460) on Tuesday October 19, 2004 @10:13PM (#10571667)
    For Windows platforms, I find that Microsoft Terminal Server (aka Remote Desktop) is the easiest way to troubleshoot problems without actually being at the computer. It also seems to fair quite a bit better over dial-up lines than VNC does.
    • Terminal Services is great if you just want to log into a computer, but if you want to interact with another user or your own session already in progress( say you leave your comp running in your dorm or wherever and you need to just change something on your current screen) a VNC program will work much better( I use RealVNC works great no crashes yet, love the java viewer). Terminal services will cause you to be logged in twice on the same machine, causes all sort of strangeness.
  • by sgeye (757198) on Tuesday October 19, 2004 @10:14PM (#10571677)
    We use RealVNC at our office. I have played with UltraVNC, which I found to have a few stability issues, and TightVNC, which was nice. If I recall correctly, TightVNC has a file transfer feature, which comes in handy from time to time.
  • gpl (Score:5, Funny)

    by wikinerd (809585) on Tuesday October 19, 2004 @10:18PM (#10571712) Journal
    The first question is which VNC programs are GPL. This is the most important factor in finding the best VNC out there.
  • by hendersj (720767) on Tuesday October 19, 2004 @10:19PM (#10571716)
    I have used a number remote control software packages (ranging from PCAnywhere to TightVNC), and in my experience, RAdmin provided the absolute lowest possible overhead on the wire - with PCAW 10 (the last version I used) and others, the best way to get the best performance is to cut the resolution down and cut the colour depth down.

    With RAdmin, neither of these was necessary. I threw a sniffer on the wire to see what the traffic was like, and it was extremely small.

    It also worked under Wine reasonably well (I don't know if they make a native Linux version now, they didn't when I played with it a couple of years ago). The amount of traffic with a 1600x1200x24 resolution on the remote desktop was small enough to be used over a dialup with reasonably good performance.
    • Additional comment/answer to question in the story, RAdmin does scale the screen; it also has a configurable polling interval.
    • by mallfouf (585018) on Tuesday October 19, 2004 @10:46PM (#10571917) Homepage
      I've been using Radmin for the last few years. It's a really good app, works over any bandwith connection, resolution, and all flavors of Windows. It allows File Transfer, Telnet, View only, Full Control, and Remote Shutdown or Restart. Radmin takes over the desktop, so any user sitting in front of the monitor, will see all your actions.

      I use Remote Desktop on a daily basis. Remote Desktop creates a "Virtual Desktop" in memory, that only you see (Windows 2000 & 2003 version). It doesn't allow file transfer natively, unless you map a drive through your connection, or use a 3rd party software called WtsFtp. It's only available in Windows Server 2000, 2003, and Windows XP. I believe the Windows XP version allows only 1 user to be logged into the machine at a time. A Remote Desktop Connection is considered to be 1 user. I use both those applications on a daily basis.

      Remote Desktop is faster than Radmin, which is way faster than various flavors of VNC i've used over the past.
    • Another vote for RAdmin. I use it to manage all my Windows servers.
    • I also use Radmin daily, and have for 2+ years. Low overhead, uses a single port for all its communications, and you can encrypt your traffic for what its worth(implementation quality unknown).

      I have gotten my $30 worth and then some.

      Gailin
  • by Jonah Hex (651948) <hexdotms@gmaiCOFFEEl.com minus caffeine> on Tuesday October 19, 2004 @10:20PM (#10571726) Homepage Journal
    If your looking to purchase an enterprise level solution, check out Remote Anything w/Directory Server [twd-industries.com]
    Small footprint (90 KB): a single executable file, no DLLs, no drivers.
    Portable so Mac, Linux, Solaris and FreeBSD versions will be available.
    One-click installation+configuration allowing on-demand deployments.
    Remotely invisible: impossibility to detect and attack Master/Slave*.
    Transparently reach Slave PCs behind firewalls & routers with Masters*.
    Auto-update Master & Slaves without interruption of service or reboot*.
    Non-repudiation with RSA 2048-Bit keys + AES 128-Bit session keys*.
    [*] Requires TWD Industries' Directory Server (DS).
    The DS option offers database backup, multiple servers, and excellent NAT traversal and security. Controlling a slave is pretty much comparable to working with other VNC products, lots of options to speed things up, plus the configurability of the slave client is really full featured with all possible User Policy options an Admin could dream of.

    Jonah Hex
  • RAdmin (Score:3, Informative)

    by xrayspx (13127) on Tuesday October 19, 2004 @10:22PM (#10571740) Homepage
    To the best of my knowledge, RAdmin is not based on VNC.

    RAdmin has several nice features, but they're mostly not really anything you can't get from VNC. One cool exception to that is the ability to "bounce" from RAdmin servers. Let's say you are adminning a machine a remote location which is "messed up" in some way, bad subnet mask, bad default gateway, etc. You can set an intermediate machine at that location for RAdmin to bounce off of. It's also possible to use this to create an "RAdmin Gateway", so a machine on your edge network, which you bounce through to get access to the internal machines. That isn't a recommendation, but I've seen people do it before.

    The 3.0 beta client also has nice Dealmaker features for me. Folder support, so no more one long ass list of all your connections (although you could DIY this solution through the use of command line shortcuts), and the ability to set the default refresh rate to something other than 100 updates/sec, rather than having to change it every time you make a new connection.

    Other than that, they're all fairly similar. I like RAdmin's Get/Set clipboard feature. The file transfer is decent only for small files, but for those small files, it's great. There's a remote CMD shell feature which always struck me as a bad plan, but no worse than remote desktop I guess.

    Try them all out, there's a 30 day trial of RAdmin anyway, just play. It's not nearly as fast as Terminal Services, but it's not as slow as (vanilla) VNC, or slow feeling I guess. And I haven't tried VNC in an eternity, so I'm no expert.

    Really, RDP is the way to go if you have Windows2000 or 2003. It's super fast relative to anything else I use, 2k3 gives you the option of full color. However RAdmin is very good for servers on which you WANT multiple user sessions to "collide". I don't want someone logged into a server making contradictory changes to mine without us colliding with each other and backing off.

  • ssh + X forwarding (Score:5, Interesting)

    by yuri benjamin (222127) <yuridg@gmail.com> on Tuesday October 19, 2004 @10:24PM (#10571764) Journal
    In a *nix-only environment, I prefer ssh with X forwarding.
    I've heard there are products that serve X over low bandwidth [nomachine.com].
  • Ultra VNC (Score:3, Informative)

    by schnits0r (633893) <nathannd@NospAM.sasktel.net> on Tuesday October 19, 2004 @10:33PM (#10571838) Homepage Journal
    I used several VNC clients, and I found Ultra to be the best one. Acts like a video driver, has file transfers, is free, and has several other features I can't remember.
  • VNC Genealogy (Score:4, Informative)

    by rwa2 (4391) * on Tuesday October 19, 2004 @10:43PM (#10571904) Homepage Journal
    What we really need is some sort of family tree so we can trace how the various forks of VNC developed...

    For our part, here's what we've settled on:

    Win32
    UltraVNC [ultravnc.com]
    Linux / *NIX
    TightVNC [tightvnc.com] for virtual framebuffers
    x11vnc [karlrunge.com] for sharing out :0 (run from a command line as

    x11vnc -forever -passwd mysecretpw

    Mac OS X
    OSXVNC for the server [redstonesoftware.com]
    VNCViewer [mac.com] as the client
    I've heard good things about Chicken of the VNC [sourceforge.net] (but haven't gotten around to trying it yet)
    Have fun!
  • by mbourgon (186257) on Tuesday October 19, 2004 @10:51PM (#10571942) Homepage
    RealVNC: the original.
    TightVNC: optimized for low-bandwidth
    Ultra: tons of extras - file transfer, chat, video driver, NT/AD security
    Tridia: get around firewalls, more management features

    I miss anything?
  • I used VNC right up until I found the fatal flaw which should scare anyone away from it.

    I VNC'd into my work machine to check a few things, but then needed to check my email on my own desktop. Without thinking (I thought I was at work because, hey, this is my work background!) I VNC'd to my home computer - which is the computer I was using to VNC into work.

    Let me tell you what. It wasn't bad enough that VNC crawled to the speed of molasses going uphill on a cold day. No, VNC further decided to lag the mouse movement so everytime I inched closer to the 'X' to close the session, it would jump forward a little, then backward more than I moved and oscillate there a little bit until it settled down and I could try again. It took control of the mouse on my screen!

    Someone needs to check into this. Seriously, someone could be injured if they accidently VNC'd recursively. I'm just glad it was only looped on itself once. Imagine if I VNC'd through a dozen computers! The oscillations would never dampen, bringing the universe (at least the internet, and they're pretty much the same thing anyway) to a grinding sine wavy halt.

    Is there a VNC that checks for this failure mode? Perhaps a good PID algorithm is all that's needed, but something must be done.

    -Adam
    • by Tyrell Hawthorne (13562) on Wednesday October 20, 2004 @03:59AM (#10573445) Homepage
      I VNC'd into my work machine to check a few things, but then needed to check my email on my own desktop. Without thinking (I thought I was at work because, hey, this is my work background!) I VNC'd to my home computer - which is the computer I was using to VNC into work.

      I must admit that one of the first things I did with VNC when I tried it many years ago was to make a VNC loop. However, the software was smart enough to sense it and not allow it. Knowing there is no software that can be smarter than the dumbness of users, I added a third machine to the mix--and voila! I had my loop.
    • I've done that before, just to see what would happen... and yes, it managed to lock both machines up solid. HOWEVER.... easy to fix. Simply remove the network cable, after a bit both machines will realize the connection dropped and act as though they disconnected normally. Hook up the cable again, and tada! All better!

      (Alt-F4 was not working, due to the machines both being locked.)
  • by kabloom (755503) on Wednesday October 20, 2004 @01:11AM (#10572781) Homepage
    I recently posted a list of the VNC's in debian, with a description of how each one serves a different purpose to LUGOD's vox-tech mailing list. The post [lugod.org] is quoted here in full, so that you do not need to click the link, thereby slashdotting their server.

    I was asked "Is there one implementation that's better than the others? Why did this piece of software fork so many times?"

    And I answered as follows:

    Because they're all different. Some for framebuffers, some serve differently, some compressed, some not. Read on, and I think you'll getthe idea.

    (Search packages.debian.org for vnc, and you'll see all of these pop up.)

    TightVNC uses JPEG or zlib to compress the data stream to optimize for lower bandwidth connections. It is under the GPL. Packages: tightvncserver, and xtightvncviewer

    The default VNC viewer (packages vncserver and xvncviewer) are (c) 2002 RealVNC, and (C)1994-2000 AT&T. They are under the GPL. This seems to be
    what you alien'ed.

    x2vnc - use a vnc server as a second screen, so you can move the mouse between the local machine and a machine across the network that is running the vnc client.

    directvnc - doesn't require x - uses libdirectfb-0.9-20. Depends on zlib and libjpeg, so it may work with tightvnc's protocol

    svncviewer - depends on svgalib

    x11vnc - the x11vnc server works the same way the Windows 2000 vnc server does - mirroring the physical screen over vnc

    linuxvnc - "With linuxvnc you can export your currently running text sessions to any VNC client. So it can be useful, if you want to move to another computer without having to log out and if you've forgotten to attach a 'screen' session to it, or to help a distant colleague to solve a problem."

    3dwm-vncclient - I think you get the picture

    vnc-java - I think you know what this is. Why bother with it? Probably so you can serve yourself a vnc client over HTTP, probably.

    tkvnc - a wrapper for xvncviewer
  • IMHO, It Depends. (Score:5, Informative)

    by WoTG (610710) on Wednesday October 20, 2004 @02:29AM (#10573131) Homepage Journal
    I use both UltraVNC and RealVNC at work and around the house.

    UltraVNC is miles ahead of the others when used with the video driver on Windows on a broadband or better connection. It is smooth, very usable for most office applications. Personally, I find file transfer to be useful too. The client side has some nice GUI touches for fullscreen mode - a little control bar that is very similar to the one in Remote Desktop.

    On the other hand, RealVNC is the "gold standard". The stable releases are extremely stable. Of note, in version 4, there is a nice GUI for limiting remote access by IP address.

    It is worth emphasizing that there is a vast difference between RealVNC on Linux and on Windows. Because of the nature of OSS, on Linux, VNC doesn't need to screen scrape. On Windows, w/o a special video driver (a la UltraVNC), VNC is generally stuck with a high-tech version of screen scapeing - it's slow, innacurate, and generally unpleasant for "work", but still incredibly valuable for the flexibilty of remote access.
  • by sometwo (53041) on Wednesday October 20, 2004 @04:10AM (#10573492)
    I know this is a linux oriented site, but nothing beats Windows remote desktopping. It's encrypted and can use local printers, diskdrives, and serial ports. Most importantly, it just works.
  • by xutopia (469129) on Wednesday October 20, 2004 @08:48AM (#10574303) Homepage
    and it beats all the other remote programs hands down!
  • by LogicX (8327) * <slashdot AT logicx DOT us> on Wednesday October 20, 2004 @09:14AM (#10574487) Homepage Journal
    These choices are great and all, but in my experience I've found very poor multi-monitor support. Some authors speak of running multiple daemons for each screen -- screw that.
    I've found that RealVNC (and NOT UltraVNC) has excellent multi-monitor support that gives you a view that spans across all monitors.

    However, the beauty is in the fact that you can use the superior UltraVNC client to connect to the multi-monitor supporting RealVNC.

    What other experiences have others had with multi-monitor across some of the VNCs I haven't tried, such as TightVNC?
  • UltraVNC (Score:3, Informative)

    by Coppit (2441) on Wednesday October 20, 2004 @09:15AM (#10574495) Homepage
    To me, the automatic connection type detection feature of UltraVNC is killer. (I don't know which is the best protocol for my connection!)

    Another killer feature (which TightVNC also has) is the ability to scale to any size. This allows you to scale a 1280x1024 VNC screen so that you can see the whole remote desktop on a local 1024x768 display.

    Lastly, being able to change the remote resolution without losing the connection is nice. I don't think TightVNC can do this.

    Chicken of the VNC is good for Mac, but doesn't have these features. :(
  • by waynegoode (758645) * on Wednesday October 20, 2004 @10:21AM (#10575040) Homepage
    I asked myself this question about a year ago. I spent less than an hour researching, but I decided that UltraVNC seemed the best. It seemed to have the most features and be the most up to date. It has the best features of the others.

    From UltraVNC's old FAQ [sourceforge.net] Ultr@VNC is an enhanced VNC distribution, for Win32 platforms only (for now). It's based on RealVNC, features TightVNC smart cursor handling and encoding, almost all the special functionalities that can be found in eSVNC and Vdacc-VNC, and a LOT more.

    Plus, at the time it was the only one with 128 bit encryption (via a plug-in) and still might be. The encryption not only protects the data in transit, it also acts as a second password. You can run the others through SSH, but the plug-in makes in integrated into UltraVNC.

    Also, RealVNC now charges for their best version.

  • Why? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Pieroxy (222434) on Thursday October 21, 2004 @09:23AM (#10585520) Homepage
    I understand the question, but a more important one would be "why in the name of god do we have now 123 different VNCs?"

    This is just confusing the heck out of me.

    One better for speed, another for CPU, a third for OS/2, why? Why can't we merge the best of the best in a one and only VNC?

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