"First, let's review VNC technology, which developerWorks has
explored several times before. Most readers are familiar with VNC's
basic operation: put a VNC server on a central machine, then VNC
clients hosted remotely can view the central machine's graphical
display. Now, that description sounds a bit like the X11 windowing
system with some of the labels changed. As with X, VNC traffic can
be encrypted, tunneled, wrapped, and so on. As with X, VNC helps
exploit 'compute servers' that can be centrally maintained while
graphical results are visible 'where users live.'
"Unlike X, however, VNC 'multiplexes:' your graphical
applications continue to run unaffected even without a client
desktop watching them, or even if several clients are watching
simultaneously. VNC is also admirably portable; good
implementations are freely available for a staggering range of
hardware and operating systems, including mainframes, telephone
handsets, and a surprising number of decades-old machines.
"These features make VNC a solution for several development
challenges. Suppose you have a graphical application running on a
Linux box, and you've been instructed to port it to a Windows
desktop or make it into a Web application. A nearly instantaneous
answer is to feed the application display into a VNC server on the
Linux host and rely on Windows- or Web-hosted VNC clients to view
the application remotely. That achieves in an afternoon what might
otherwise take weeks to port at the level of source code..."
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