Image Image Image ImageImage
Creative Services for
Roughly Drafted
Daniel Eran

Image Image

A Brief History of Remote Display
There's more than one way to deliver remote display features. Unix, Windows and Mac OS X all approach the problem differently, reflecting the different vendors' motivations. To see what's possible, or at least desirable, in Leopard, let's take a look at what's been developed.
There are two broad categories in remote control software. Historically, Apple has fit into the remote management and control camp, along with third party products like Timbuktu. These products allow administrators to view and control fleets of remote units, and install, upgrade, inventory and configure them.

Other remote desktop solutions have been closer aligned to the idea of remote execution, often chasing the holy grail of the thin client. The VNC project; Microsoft's Terminal Services and Remote Desktop Connection; the X Window remote server; and NeXT's NSHosting were all methods to run applications on one machine and display the output on another.

Apple has always been a hardware company, so they have historically been interested in selling and managing Macs. Microsoft is a software only company, and is therefore only interested in selling software licenses. Unix workstation vendors, particularly Sun and NeXT, were interested in selling a whole solution to their customers. As could be expected, each of their remote desktop efforts reflected their business interests.
Apple: supporting hardware sales
Apple's original Network Assistant product was designed to allow site administrators to assist users, install software, and remotely control fleets of individual Mac computers. In 2002, that classic Mac OS product was replaced with Apple Remote Desktop, which ran on Mac OS X.

In 2004, Apple Remote Desktop 2.0 was released. It replaced Apple's own UDP-based ARD protocol with the TCP-based VNC protocol, allowing the product to also remotely control Windows and Linux computers with a VNC server installed.

ARD is a useful product, but it is designed and licensed specifically for managing large sites with many computers, usually in an education setting. It is licensed per administrator, in a 10 client edition for $299, and an unlimited client version for $499. That's outside the scope and budget of a typical Mac user.

The third article in the Wishlist for Leopard series presents ideas Apple could use to deliver improved remote control and management for all Mac OS X users. But first take a look at other existing technologies, why they were developed, and how they differ from what Apple offers.

Microsoft: selling licenses


More Journal Entries | More Tech Articles | Get Tech Support | My Resume | Links | Contact RoughlyDrafted

Articles Copyright © 2006 Daniel Eran. All rights reserved.
Suggestions and comments welcome. Contact RoughlyDrafted.

Read more about:
Click one of the links above to display related articles on this page.