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Question: Have you ever used VNC? How has it worked for you?

My Answer: I've used it twice. Once, on a local network, it worked beautifully. That was back in the day of the old grey AirPort base stations - not terribly high bandwidth, but serviceable. Today's experiment in using VNC over two cable- and DSL-connected computers (PC server, Mac viewer) was a disaster.

You are encouraged to answer the Question of the Day for yourself in the comments or on your blog.

12 Responses to "QotD: VNC"

  1. I was just using VNC today for the first time in a while. Grabbed a copy of TightVNC. Used it over a local network, I found it very responsive. There seem to be some issue with screen refreshes when windows scrolled quickly. It is likely that some tweaking of polling options would clear this up.

    Host machine was Win2K, client was XP.

    All in all, VNC is good, but it depends what your needs are. It is well priced. =]

  2. It seems the best way for me to do VNC to a Mac is to have jpeg compression enabled, with lowest quality and highest compression. The problem is, many GUI clients don't let you set this.

    % vncviewer -encodings "copyrect tight" -compresslevel 9 -quality 0 hostname

    If your connecting to a Windows box, just use Remote Desktop. Nothing but Citrix comes close.

  3. I use VNC fairly frequently. client: Win XP laptop, server: OSX G4, over 802.11g network (sometimes 802.11b because my darn motorola access point is flaky.) on the server I use OSXVNC, and the plain VNC client on the PC. Pretty nice to see my Mac on the PC. too bad the Mac has a screen larger than the laptop -- it'd be great to have it in fullscreen mode 🙂

    Anyhow, i've been using VNC for about 4-5 years, never had too many issues, and i think it's well worth the money.

  4. I use VNC a lot. Specifically, the Apple remote Desktop client and server. I also connect to a Windows XP Home box occasionaly.

    Since I am often at school, and their is occasionally information on my home machine that I need, it is often simplest to connect to the machine over VNC and the get the information that way. (alternatively I some times use SSH, or SFTP depending on which is best for the task I want) Lately I have also been using VNC to control a headless mac server under my control.

    In all cases, VNC has worked very well. When on a LAN the response rate is fantastic, and when connecting over the internet it is highly dependent on if I have any file uploads going on.

    The Apple Remote Desktop software has a nice resizing feature. The client you are connected too will compress and resize the image being sent to fit the dimensions of the "controlling" mac. This means that you can get an excellent response rate over a cable modem connection as long as you don't need to see the details. When you have the information you need, simply zoom in and do what you need.

    I often run in grayscale for maximum performance.

    When connecting to the windows box, their are occasional minor graphical glitches.

  5. I have been using VNC for many years now. I'm currently a student in college, so my desktop always has a VNC server running on it. On my powerbook, i use Chicken of the VNC to connect to it, and it works great. I do not notice too much lag, even when i connect to it from a cable modem 6 states away during vacation breaks.

    Depending on your system, it might be to your advantage to run it in grayscale, or low quality, but I personally haven't encountered too many problems with the speed of the connection based on the quality of the images.

  6. i use vnc over the internet on a regular basis. connecting from work, back to a system at home (linux, but it could be any *nix or windows system) over a ssh tunnel. its a bit slow, but compression, and reducing the image quality somewhat helps a bit. i find that the following command line options (for tightvnc) work well:

    -compresslevel 9 -quality 3

  7. Over the years, I have used several forms of GUI remote desktop access. I have used VNC connecting FROM Linux, Mac, and Windows TO Linux, Mac, and Windows. I have used it over a LAN as well as over a WAN.

    Connecting to a Mac is the worst of them all, for nothing I have found passes the Command key consistentently and predictly. Sometimes I end up hiding or quitting the VNC viewer app - YUCK.

    Connecting to a Linux machine isn't really VNC to the console - it is VNC to a pseudo-console. It's nice I guess, but I didn't use it much.

    Connecting to a Windows machine, from whatever client, is the best of them all, VNC-wise.

    For connecting to Mac servers, and for any connection over a WAN, I prefer Timbuktu. Sure it's not free, but it's also excellent software. Screen updates (seem to) happen much faster than Timbuktu - perhaps it's because Timbuktu sends deltas of tiny 50x50 pixel blocks (or some similarly small size), where it seems VNC sends the entire screen at once, not updating anything on the client view until it receives the ENTIRE screen image. It may not actually be slower than Timbuktu, but it _seems_ *really* slow.

  8. I just started using Apple Remote Desktop this week with a good deal of success. Now all the computers were Mac's running 10.3 which probably made it easier than setting up a VNC on Windows. ARD can work with VNC to a point it seems, though I have no need since the few Windows boxes we have in the office are used on a very limited basis.

    Good luck getting your VNC stuff working!

  9. I've been using VNC for a long time. Last year, I was in Seattle on a "Vacation" but we had an emergency at work and I ended up doing a lot of work over a PPTP vpn and VNC on machines in my lab in Los Gatos, CA from the broadband connection in the hotel. It worked great.

    My company also has a team in Hawaii, and we routinly share screens with them using VNC, and it works very well in that application.

    Obviously all of these applications depend on a high-bandwidth connection, but I've been very pleased with the performance of VNC over the years.

  10. VNC - A Great Testing Tool

    I saw a question on NSLog today about using VNC, I replied
    in the comments to say that I had, but I wanted to take a minute to
    expand on my comments a little.

    For those who don't know, VNC is a software system that allows you to
    see the graphical display

  11. I'm VNCing from home right now. It's fast enough to be checking RSS and email, and browsing, but I sure wouldn't play Marathon this way... Sever is on university LAN on my Powerbook, client at home over DSL on my old crusty 8600

  12. Anyone specifically connect from a DSL connection to a fixed IP server behind a firewall.

    Secondly, is it possible to connect to a PC sharing a DSL connection using a Linksys router with no fixed IP?

    Thanks in advance