VNC stands for Virtual Network Computing and refers to a software application used to remote control other computers on a network, including across the internet. There are a number of variations of VNC, including RealVCN, Tight VNC, and SheepShagger VNC...although I may have just made that last one up..
A few great things about VNC: you can control other systems - a world apart; it supports Windows and Unix/Linux with equal alacrity and it's FREE (well for Linux and XP anyway - recent licensing changes require payment for the newer Vista and Windows7 versions).
Once the VNC Server is running on a system, the VNC Client can connect and view and/or control the server. The remote controller may use either the VNCViewer stand alone application (screenshot) or a web browser (screenshot) .
The easy way - use Vino
Vino is the default VNC server in Ubuntu/Mint for sharing a system's desktop. From the Menu, open the Control Centre and click on Remote Desktop..
In the preferences box tick the required options, such as Allow others to view your desktop and Allow other users to control your desktop and require a password..
And that's it. VNC should now be able to connect in. Easy. See further below for installing the VNC Viewer..
The harder way: Downloading and Installation
If for some reason Vino doesn't work or isn't available, there are many other options. I had a few problems with finding the popularly-mentioned library libstdc++-libc6.2-2.so.3
to run the vncviewer, so I ended up using two versions; one to connect in as a server and the other to remote out from my Linux box. There's probably a tidier alternative but this worked for me..
Getting and running the VNC Server
Install the packages using the apt-get command (grabs stuff from the Ubuntu archives):
sudo apt-get install x11vnc vnc-java
Set up a password for clients (systems wanting to connect):
Run the terminal command (starts the VNC Service on the Linux system):
x11vnc -forever -usepw -httpdir /usr/share/vnc-java/ -httpport 5800
At this stage another system on the network should be able to connect using a VNC client..
Getting and running the VNC Viewer
Trying to run /usr/bin/vncviewer gave me the following error:
vncviewer: error while loading shared libraries: libstdc++-libc6.2-2.so.3: cannot open shared object file: No such file or directory
I ran the following command to grab the library file:
sudo apt-get install libstdc++-libc6.2-2.so.3
..and got the following error:
E: Couldn't find package libstdc++-libc6.2-2.so.3
Much perusal of the web indicated this had of course occurred to others before, but I couldn't get the library file from the most obvious sources. Another pragmatic, if not-so-tidy strategy was to install an alternative version:
sudo apt-get install vncviewer
This then gave the option of running /usr/bin/xvncviewer or /usr/bin/xtightvncviewer, both of which connected to my Windows XP workstations and gateway server nicely (screenshot)..