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Remote Desktop

Remote desktop

Remote desktop (initially known as virtual network computing) is a technique originally designed to control (or manage) a computer remotely through the desktop, and currently is the basis of thin client technology. Nowadays almost every operating system includes a native remote desktop protocol. Windows, Linux or Mac operating systems are not exceptions.


  • Virtual Network Computing (VNC) is probably the first technique commonly used to manage remote desktops. It is based on a protocol called Remote FrameBuffer (RFB).
  • Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP). A proprietary protocol developed by Microsoft and included natively in most Windows operating systems as terminal services.
  • Independent Computing Architecture (ICA) designed by Citrix Systems. Another proprietary protocol initially designed to improve the poor remote desktop services provided by Windows in the beginning.
  • X Display Manager Control Protocol (XDMCP) is the remote desktop protocol provided by an X Window System (commonly called as X or X11). X is the desktop environment used in Unix-like operating systems. Note that X is primarily a protocol and it does not contain any specification for application user interface design. Instead, an X Window Manager is used.
  • NoMachine has developed a significant enhancement for the use of remote desktops connections in an X Windows System. This is provided by the NX technology. NX is not really a protocol but an adaptation of the X Windows System with two new features: 1) compression of the communication to minimize the amount of information transmitted by the remote desktop, and 2) routing of information through a secure communication channel (e.g. by using a secure shell protocol, SSH).
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