Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Remote desktop access -- more experimentation.

Well, there certainly is no shortage of means to let you access and control a distant desktop from the comfort of your own desk as shown in this article.
As I had had some problems with xncviewer, particularly from KuruminNG (Dell), I decided to try one other app listed in this article. This was x11vnc.
First, I tried to access Foresight (on the Dell) from Ubuntu (on the Mac). The steps are very simple and are as follows:
1. Download/Install x11vnc on the remote desktop (Foresight-Dell). For this I used:

sudo conary update x11vnc=@fl:2-devel

2. Start up the remote server by typing this in a terminal
x11vnc -display :0
3. In the client (your own computer or Ubuntu-Mac in my case), type this
and almost immediately, Foresight's desktop appeared on the Mac. Note that sshd was NOT running on Foresight at the time and NO passwords at all were required. Absolutely nothing, very quick and problem-free.

Note that in Ubuntu, I needed to download xtightvncviewer (one of four suitable apps available) before vncviewer would work.
Really, this whole thing, including the downloads, installs and connections could easily be set up in less than 5 minutes.

Flushed with this success, I tried to see if I could control KuruminNG (Dell) from Ubuntu-Mac. Here the steps were:
1. Install x11vnc in Kurumin
sudo apt-get install x11vnc

2. In a Kurumin terminal, type
x11vnc -display :0

3. In Ubuntu-Mac, type

Once again, connection was almost immediate with no requests for passwords or anything else.

Now, the area where I had a problem with Kurumin before, controlling another Linux desktop from Kurumin as client. So, for this I tried:

1. Install x11vnc in Ubuntu-Mac
sudo apt-get install x11vnc

2. In Ubuntu type
x11vnc -display :0

3. In Kurumin type

For the third time, everything worked perfectly, absolutely no flaws whatsoever. However, there was a difference from the last two attempts, in that this time, after the third step in Kurumin (vncviewer), a window appeared in Ubuntu asking did I want to accept or refuse the request to control the desktop. Once I said yes, connection was immediate.

My conclusion based on this very brief and incomplete test is that x11vnc seems quite a marvelous app and well worth trying again.
One big difference from NXserver, is that the client sees exactly what is on the servers screen right now. Also, the clients cursor moves around the servers screen.

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