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Old 08-30-2009, 03:07 AM   #1
felipe1982
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Can I setup tightvnc on a GNU box, and connect to currently running desktop session?


I can SSH into a box running GNU (on which I have root power). A user is currently operating a desktop session (with GNOME or KDE, whatever) on that box. I install tightvnc on the machine and type "vncserver." It replies with something like ":1" which I presume is a SECOND desktop session (running along side the first). What I would like to be able to do (with the user's consent, of course) is to connect to a currently running session (their session) from any machine (GNU or WIN). Is this possible? Does it involve a lot of setup on the GNU box? That is to say, does it require a tremendous amount of manual text-file editing (tremendous is obviously a subjective term here, but you get the point).

I have heard of some WIN vnc servers in which this is possible. I am interesting in setting up something similar with tightvnc and GNU. (I am also aware KDE has a simple interface to configure VNC, but so far I haven't been able to connect to another user's currently running session).
 
Old 08-30-2009, 03:10 AM   #2
pwc101
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Yes. Take a look at x11vnc.

My understanding is that in a standard Windows XP Pro installation, this is the only setup you can have, since XP won't let you have multiple graphical instances running simultaneously (that's what Microsoft's (expensive) Server operating systems are for).
 
Old 08-30-2009, 03:27 AM   #3
felipe1982
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pwc101 View Post
Yes. Take a look at x11vnc.
running "aptitude search vnc" reveals: tightvnc, Xvnc, x11vnc; f*ck that's confusing!

Quote:
My understanding is that in a standard Windows XP Pro installation, this is the only setup you can have, since XP won't let you have multiple graphical instances running simultaneously
Actually, on a stock XP pro Remote Desktop session (Win-to-Win) it will temporary "lock" any currently running desktop sessions, but allow the remote user to log in (if its a different account). If its the same user account, it will resume a currently running desktop session.

Will non-x11vnc servers also give me access to currently running X session when logged into the 'same' useraccount as the currently running X session?
 
Old 08-30-2009, 03:38 AM   #4
pwc101
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Quote:
Originally Posted by felipe1982 View Post
Actually, on a stock XP pro Remote Desktop session (Win-to-Win) it will temporary "lock" any currently running desktop sessions, but allow the remote user to log in (if its a different account). If its the same user account, it will resume a currently running desktop session.
But you can still only have one person using the computer at a time. This is still the case if you install VNC afterwards, if I'm not mistaken.
Quote:
Originally Posted by felipe1982 View Post
Will non-x11vnc servers also give me access to currently running X session when logged into the 'same' useraccount as the currently running X session?
No. They will give you access to a separate instance of whichever desktop environment the user has as their default (as defined in ~/.vnc/xstartup).

You may also want to look into FreeNX, as this may achieve some of the things you want. My experience of it is limited, however, so I mention it only as an aside.
 
Old 08-30-2009, 03:54 AM   #5
felipe1982
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Quote:
You may also want to look into FreeNX
Thanks. I used to use that, but never did figure out a way to connect to an existing X server.

It seems x11vnc is the ticket! However, according its webpage, it is a tad bit slower than a "normal" VNC session (because its using a REAL X11 server). I guess there will always be trade-offs

Thanks for the help. I'll do more digging into FreeNX. I prefer a full FOSS solution whenever I can though (as I recall, the Win Client for FreeNX isn't free-sw, but the upside is that it uses SSH to make remote connections, which is important.
 
Old 08-30-2009, 04:01 AM   #6
pwc101
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Quote:
Originally Posted by felipe1982 View Post
It seems x11vnc is the ticket! However, according its webpage, it is a tad bit slower than a "normal" VNC session (because its using a REAL X11 server). I guess there will always be trade-offs
I used it on an old PPC Mac and it did use more CPU than a traditional VNC server, but like you say, there's bound to be some trade-offs.
Quote:
Originally Posted by felipe1982 View Post
Thanks for the help. I'll do more digging into FreeNX. I prefer a full FOSS solution whenever I can though (as I recall, the Win Client for FreeNX isn't free-sw, but the upside is that it uses SSH to make remote connections, which is important.
Yes, the NoMachine client for Windows isn't FOSS, however I've found FreeNX to be significantly faster (the server was on a home ADSL line ~8Mbit) than the equivalent VNC server, even with pretty high compression rates for the VNC server. The FreeNX server, meanwhile, required almost not noticeable compression. But, I believe it can't connect to "real" X displays, which is what you were after
 
Old 08-30-2009, 04:32 AM   #7
tredegar
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felipe,

If your user wants to invite you to share his current desktop (and move his mouse around, click on things, open a terminal and type in it etc), there's already an application that'll do that for you, very easily. Have him type

krfb

in a terminal.

A window opens "Welcome to KDE Desktop Sharing"

Click "Create Personal Invitation".

A window pops up:
Host 192.168.0.3:0 (For example)
Password JJkk-zz9 (For example)
Expiration time One hour from now.

Now you need to connect to that host. If you are on the same LAN, no problem, just

vncviewer 192.168.0.3:0

He gets a window "Someone is trying to connect. Is that OK?"

If he answers Yes, then you get a request for the password, which he must have told you.

Give it, and you'll see, and be able to use, his desktop. To logout from his desktop, just close the window.

If you are not on the same LAN, he needs to find out what his WAN IP is. Eg by going to http://whatismyip.com

Say his WAN IP is 82.83.84.85

He must set his router/firewall up so ports 5900-5909 are forwarded to 192.168.0.3 on his LAN

Now you can connect to him with
vncviewer 82.83.84.85:0

Have fun.
 
Old 08-30-2009, 04:35 AM   #8
felipe1982
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That's great. Just what I was after. Cheers. What if person X isn't using KDE?
 
Old 08-30-2009, 04:42 AM   #9
tredegar
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Quote:
What if person X isn't using KDE?
Presumably their other desktop will have something equally useful. Google is your friend here.
 
  


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