Friday, March 03, 2006

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love VNC

We didn't used to have the tools we use for remote desktop management. We used to use VNC. Dun Dun DUNNN! If you're from the linux community you're probably wondering what the big deal is. But if you've used VNC on windows for remote support you'll remember out-of-sync cursors, long delays, and "painting" the screen with your mouse. Man that stuff was frustrating.

When I found VNC was originally a Linux tool, I wasn't surprised. It meant windows VNC was FAR from optimized, and was probably being weighed down with bulky windows BS resulting in the piss-poor performance. I did a little looking around, and found a comment that VNC for Linux was like RDP for Windows in regard to speed and functionality. I was extremely skeptical.

Since I got into linux I never saw the need to use VNC (and I probably would have avoided it like the plague even if I had the need), I used my crappy KVM that worked great if the boxes were turned off, and the KVM was turned off and on, then the boxes were turned on. So for a while things in KVM land were great. Until someone kicked the surge suppressor that powered the KVM and it got out of sync again. Not wanting to reboot my linux box (uptime 141 days and counting) I roughed it, and instead of getting to switch to the box on the first try it would take quite a few tires. But since I didn't switch that much (and REALLY didn't want to have to reboot) I worked through it. Well recently my keyboard cable became loose from the kvm, resulting in me having to go to the back of the PC and unplug and replug the keyboard ps/2 plug after every switch. So, stubbornly, I stayed on the linux box for a few days, then had to go to the windows box for a few more days, and finally got fed up with it. I typed vncserver -name omgwtfbbq -geometry 1280x1024 and picked up a VNC client. I connected and saw it moving quickly, but that was just running X. I reset it to open GNOME and was amazed. It was responsive, there was no painting, and the delay was almost undetectable! Deciding to test the ultimate I opened a video off google video... lossless. Smooth, and beautiful, and over fucking VNC! Heaven.

I was (and still am) ecstatic. VNC doesn't suck, Windows just makes it suck!

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