Using a VNC Client

The Linux VNC client program is usually called vncviewer, although Debian calls its program xvncviewer. (Both the original VNC and Tight VNC use the same executable names.) This tool takes several options, but in most cases you use it by typing the program name followed by the VNC server name, a colon, and the VNC session number. For instance, you might type the following command:

$ vncviewer blueox.luna.edu:1

VNC server supports protocol version 3.3 (viewer 3.3) Password:

If you type the correct password, vncviewer displays more text in yourxterm and opens a window on the remote computer's desktop, as shown in Figure 26.7. (This figure shows several programs already running in the VNC window.) VNC clients are also available for many other OSs; check the original VNC or the Tight VNC websites for these clients. These non-Linux VNC clients work much like the Linux VNC client, but they emphasize dialog boxes for entry of the server's hostname and password.

Figure 26.7: A VNC client displays a remote system's desktop within a single window—note the window border surrounding this desktop image.

One important drawback of VNC is that the user must ordinarily launch the VNC server from the server computer before running the VNC client program from the client computer. In some cases, this requirement isn't a major issue. For instance, if you're sitting at a workstation and know you'll want to use it from another location in the near future, you can launch the server before leaving the workstation. In other cases, though, you may need to log into the VNC server computer using a text-mode login tool in order to launch the VNC server. This procedure requires two logins, which is a nuisance. What's more, this means you must run two login protocols on the server computer, increasing its security exposure.

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