remote display protocols
I downloaded the No Machine's NX 4 Preview 6 packages. They have server builds for Linux, Windows, and Mac. So far, I've only tried the Linux version but I hope to try the others soon.
So, what do I think? It is *AMAZING*. No really. I installed it on my work desktop and connected to it from my laptop at home over wireless. I adjusted the display quality down a bit because the combination of the bandwidth at work and the latency of my DSL connection at home are pretty bad. By the way, I connected to my pre-existing X11 desktop session and was able to share it. While the connection to my work desktop was rather grainy, it was VERY USABLE. I was able to watch video... and I'm even writing this blog post while I'm listening to a video... all running on the remote machine.
To really test it out, I opened up the spicec client on my remote work desktop and connected to a remote KVM virtual machine via the SPICE protocol and everything worked including sound with good A/V sync. What is amazing about this is that I've never been able to connect to a work machine via SPICE from home but NX allowed me to and it worked well even though I was running a remote display inside of a remote display.
All I can say is that this is the best remote session experience I've ever had with any protocol. This NX 4 Preview 6 works better and is more dynamically configurable than anything I've ever seen. If I'm able to stream a Windows desktop and a Mac Desktop with the same quality, in my opinion, NX is the protocol of the future... hands down.
Please forgive me for being so positive and optimistic... yeah, I've only been using it for about 30 minutes now... but wow... really... wow.
BTW, they have totally redone the user interface of the NXplayer application and it is much easier to use. Give it try for yourself. To clarify, this is definitely a preview release and there are some bugs, but what I've seen thus far has greatly impressed me.
Over the years I've used a number remote display products.
The first one I recall using was Virtual Network Computing aka VNC in 1998. VNC is free software and has been incorporated, forked and enhanced by a number of companies and projects. While VNC works rather well over a medium to high speed LAN, it can be a bit slow over slower connections. That is because VNC isn't a completely vector-based protocol and still uses mostly bitmaps... or at least that is my understanding. One good thing about VNC though is that both the client and the server are available for Windows, Mac, and Linux... and a few other things as well.
Let's examine a few alternatives.