[nSLUG] Remote desktop tool?

George N. White III gnwiii at gmail.com
Sun Mar 15 09:25:02 ADT 2015


On Sat, Mar 14, 2015 at 10:54 PM, Oliver Doepner <odoepner at gmail.com> wrote:

> Jack, X11 over internet is unbearably slow, in my experience, don't you
> think?
>

There are all sorts of things that can affect X11 performance which won't
be noticed
on a fast connection.   Fonts can be a big issue.  In the early days we had
a few bitmapped
fonts.  These days we have complex coloured backgrounds with scalable fonts
often rendered
on the remote side, so vastly more data to be transferred just to display
text.   If you have
only simple terminals and line graphics remote X11 can work well (even over
modem
connections) , but if you want to use complex GUI's then it is more
efficient to transfer
the rasterized data than the X11 instructions to create the raster, e.g.,
VNC.

Systems like Google chromebooks are already bypassing most of the X11
system and
the windows you see on the screen are managed by the browser process which
just composites
them all into one big X11 window.   Many high-end graphics apps are moving
in this direction
to be able to work directly with the GPU and go beyond the X11 RGB-based
colour system.
The next logical step is a new GUI environment with X11 running as an app.
For Windows,
CygwinX already does this.

For me, the biggest advantage of VNC is that you can shut down the client
and then reconnect
later without disrupting the running jobs.

With VNC turning of special effects and replacing the default  background
with a uniform
colormakes a big improvement in performance, even over gigabit ethernet.
With a non-uniform
background just moving or resizing a window requires moving a lot more data
that with a
uniform background.

There are now a number of powerful web-based "notebook" interfaces such as
Rstudio that
can used remotely via ssh tunnels.   It would be interesting to try some of
these on a
chromebook with Chrome OS 41 and  Google's "Freon" graphics stack.  Lots of
discussion at
<https://plus.google.com/+FrancoisBeaufort/posts/L3zmATV8BW5>.
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