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  VNC - Virtual Network Computing

Wouldn't it be nice, to be able to graphically log in to any potential system out there? Think of the educational prospects alone.

The Power of VNC

Including links for you to download a really powerful graphical desktop environment for all of your systems. It not only works on all the Windows platforms, but Mac and Unix systems as well. This allows all these different platforms to graphically communicate with each other. It originated from the AT&T Laboratories at the University of Cambridge, Dept of Engineering. Very powerful concept. Kind of like Microsoft Apps PC Anywhere or Terminal Server but not only runs on all these different hardware platforms via this graphical desktop, but can also redirect through extremely high level secure shell encryption. VNC includes both client and server software to run on every system out there. Any system can become either a client or server. VNC servers can even be accessed via an Internet browser. And one of the best parts of all, this falls under GPL, (GNU Public Libraries), so there is no licensing fee to pay or have to deal with. All source code is available for download and inspection so you could even build your own binaries.

Screen Shot of Windows box accessing a Linux Desktop.
Click on image to enlarge.   Got root?

If you wanted, you could even have someone on a Mac computer system control or view what you wanted them to see, or view or control what they are doing. You could bring up someone's desktop and see what they are up to. Where several people could all be on the exact same desktop from different locations at the same time. Lock out keyboard and mouse communication just for viewing. Monitor other systems at your offices. Admins can keep track of on going systems with a couple of clicks. All server type systems including Linux, Solaris, HPUX, BSD, Mac OSX, Unix and Windows NT/200x can install VNC servers as system services. You can even run Windows 9x or XP boxes as a service. Run Linux software from your Mac box. Run Mac software on your Windows box. Run Windows software from your Linux system. Any combination you can think of. Great way to learn other operating systems without having to first load them on your own system. VNC is a very small, tight and fast application that is definitely worth looking in to.

Windows Systems --> Linux Systems --> Firewall --> Internet

Screen Shot of Linux box accessing a Windows desktop.

Because of all the Windows viruses out on the Internet, I use VNC on my Windows boxes, to access outside connections through my Linux systems. Keeping all of my Windows boxes completely buffered for Internet access, but allowing them to log in to the Linux systems and have those systems access the Internet, e-mail and other outside services.

Firewall issues:
On Linux and most Unix systems, depending on how many VNC connections, can use ports 5800-58xx for browser access and ports 5900-59xx for the VNC client/server. Or, you can redirect all traffic through your secure shell port (typically port 22). At this time, there is only one desktop available to share for Mac and Windows systems. The Mac and Windows systems would need to open up just the ports of either/both of 5800 and 5900 for access to their desktop.

Note for Mac Users:
Since the later version of Max OSX, Darwin kernel 7.0 (release name Panther), Mac now includes an X11 environment that can be loaded on to the Dock (status bar or panel). This enables a much more compatible environment for Mac communications to other Unix systems. Not only including the Unix standard of the KDE desktop, but also the entire GNU public libraries and compilers can be used to acquire most Unix source that was not previously available. Of course, I've even had a lot of the Mac users refer to this X11 environment under OSX as only being used by 'Super Geeks'. We'll see. Once the Mac starts to be able to use all this additional Unix source for their own use, it will make the Mac that much more of a contender in the open source community. However, if you're running on the PPC, my money would be on Debian or YDL (Yellow Dog Linux) which supports multiple desktops, multiple run levels and the ability to cluster multiple systems together. YDL is also much faster on the older Mac systems, where OSX is just too slow on the older processors. Look out Microsoft Windows Operating Systems, you now appear to be the odd man out.
Download YDL (Yellow Dog Linux) v3.01 Here

TightVNC for Windows

Open SSH for Windows

OSXvnc Client

Mac OS8/OS9 vnc Server
Mac OS9 vnc Client

Other hareware platforms found here.
University of Cambridge, Dept of Engineering.

Any idea what OS the caching servers at Google are using?

Screen Shot of Linux box accessing a Max OSX box.
Screen Shot of Mac OSX box accessing a Linux box.