The Linux remote desktop server built on open source technology.

Cendio has a long history of working with the open source community, and participating in the VNC development has been a high priority for us.

Between 2002 and 2009, we worked with the TightVNC project. We contributed with patches to the TightVNC 1.2 series, which was based on the original VNC code base. In 2004, we started porting the "Tight" protocol to the fourth generation of VNC. The result was the TightVNC 1.5 series, which included an Xserver which could be used with Xorg 6.8. This was a huge improvement compared to the old releases, and allowed us to ship a server with features such as font anti-aliasing, OpenGL, and much more, making Xvnc suitable for modern desktop environments and applications.

Cendio is a leading developer of TigerVNC

The 1.5 series of TightVNC was never released. Instead, in 2009, we teamed up with Red Hat and the VirtualGL project. The result was the TigerVNC project. It was based on TightVNC 1.5. One of our first contributions was an integration of "SIMD" accelerated JPEG compression and decompression. Given a reasonable fast server, client, and network, this makes it possible to play back motion graphics in full screen mode remotely. This can be done without any client side video decoder software or specialized handling of video. These performance enhancements also made TigerVNC suitable for VirtualGL setups, which provides hardware accelerated OpenGL on the server side. This allows applications such as Google Earth to run with good performance. Other enhancements includes:

  • Development of the ExtendedDesktopSize extension, making it possible to implement the RandR extension on thep server
  • CMake based build system. Windows components can be built with MinGW
  • A new FLTK-based vncviewer which supports UNIX, Windows, and macOS

In addition to combining our efforts of creating a superior VNC implementation, we are also continously working on documenting the RFB protocol and its extensions.

 

TigerVNC is part of ThinLinc - the Linux Remote Desktop Server

ThinLinc is a stable and mature Linux Remote Desktop Server developed by Cendio since 2003. ThinLinc is based on open-source components, which are at the core of the product. Additionally, ThinLinc has proprietary parts which orchestrate the interaction between the components. As a consequence, ThinLinc brings the benefits of both worlds, combining reliable open-source components with full support and rigorously tested software. By doing so, ThinLinc allows IT administrators to take care of multiple users and devices in a centralized way, dramatically reducing downtime and maintenance costs.

Among the open-source components in ThinLinc, TigerVNC performs an essential role. In fact, one of the most important parts of the ThinLinc encrypted communication is the VNC traffic through the RFB protocol. In this case, it means that the remote desktop graphics and input from the keyboard or mouse in ThinLinc works through TigerVNC. Cendio invests money and time in maintaining the TigerVNC project through constant development and project care. This means that the company’s improvements in the TigerVNC project are not only incorporated into ThinLinc but also benefit all users in the TigerVNC open source community.

 

When should I use ThinLinc instead of TigerVNC?

TigerVNC is a well-known and highly trusted project in the open-source world. Its reputation is maintained by several years of active development and support from a big community. Maybe you are considering TigerVNC and wonder what makes Tiger VNC different from ThinLinc.

There are too many differences to list them all, but the highlights of what ThinLinc offers that TigerVNC doesn’t are:

  • Built-in audio support, both input, and output

  • Connect from a web browser (ThinLinc Web Access) 

  • Session management with persistent sessions

  • Scalability with load balancing and redundancy spread between multiple servers

  • Access to local drives, folders, printers, and smart card readers inside the session

  • Additional authentication methods such as OTP, Kerberos, or Smart Cards

  • Administration tools to make it easier to set up or configure your system

In general, the items listed above facilitate the life of System Administrators that need to provide Linux Remote Desktops to a great number of simultaneous users as it reduces the time spent to make all pieces work together e.g. orchestrating several different solutions. 

You should try ThinLinc if you find any of the above points appealing to your needs.

 

How does the built-in audio support (both input and output) work on ThinLinc?

VNC solutions in general and TigerVNC in particular normally have a focus on providing access to a GUI remotely, however, the support for audio is not provided natively. People looking for a VNC with support for sound may need to customize their setup by adding extra components, which can work but on the other hand, requires more time for configuration. Additionally, maintaining a customized system like this gets even more complicated when having a great number of users and a myriad of client devices, such as desktops, thin clients, laptops, and tablets. Furthermore, these devices might require specific configurations for getting the sound to work. ThinLinc packages TigerVNC and uses PulseAudio as the component responsible for transmitting the sound from the server to the client speakers and from the client microphone to the server. PulseAudio is an open-source project and is used in all modern Linux distributions. ThinLinc is also tested with several different hardware and Linux distributions, to make sure that the users get the audio working and the system administrators reduce the time spent on compatibility issues and support demands.

 

How is a Linux Remote Desktop provided through the browser in ThinLinc?

ThinLinc has two alternatives to provide the users with access to their Linux Remote Desktops. The first alternative is the native clients (available for macOS, Windows, Linux), and the other alternative is ThinLinc Web Access (HTML5 client). ThinLinc Web Access is a browser client based mostly on noVNC, an open-source component supported by our company. The Web Access is included out-of-box in ThinLinc, while TigerVNC has no built-in browser client and needs to be configured separately. The web client is an effortless way for users to access their remote Linux as it does not require downloading or installing any software on their machines. ThinLinc Web Access uses TLS for traffic encryption.

 

 

ThinLinc is available for free for up to 5 concurrent users. Try it now!