back to article The Remote Access arsenal

Of all the tools in a system administrator’s arsenal, perhaps the most important are those related to remotely managing and administering the systems under their care. Just as computers span dozens of processor architectures and operating systems so to are the tools to manipulate these systems equally diverse. The rise of the …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    This is the wrong place to complain about Schumi's Moncao penalty

    '......but the world knows it simply as "RDP."'

    You probably know more people than I do, but the people I know call it "remote desktop".

    Paris...because she also calls it 'remote desktop'. Probably.

    1. Trevor Pott o_O Gold badge

      A fair point.

      Folks I have talked to, (both locally, and on the internet) seem to lump all remote access technologies into the banner "remote desktop." When specifying Microsoft's extensions to the ITU-T T.128 protocol however, I am almost universally heard it referred to as "RDP." There has to be a little room for artistic licence when you write, but I do wholeheartedly acknowledge that nearly any generalisation will have reasonably-sized exceptions to it.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I also like Teamviewer because they've left it free to use for home (non business) use. That allows you to use it and realise how good it actually is.

    Possibly my only gripe with Teamviewer is its license cost which puts it outside of SME reach. If they could bring out a SME light version or simply make a cheap single license I'd be happy to start using it in business as well, until then I'll stick with UltraVNC over our VPN.

    Not as good, but it works.

  3. Anonymous Coward

    Where's logmein?

    Logmein isnt given the praise it deserves on here when it is most commonly used throughout the IT industry?!

    Fail for being...well..non informative!

  4. Gaz Jay
    Thumb Up

    Dont forget

    Don't forget about

    Another small and friendly Remode Desktop app thats free for home users.

  5. James Le Cuirot

    TeamViewer on Linux

    As a Linux user, I didn't want to like TeamViewer but it does work very well and runs perfectly under Wine, which is rare. I even prefer RDP over VNC actually because it's too true that the latter is clunky and slow. It's a shame you didn't mention more about the newer X-based stuff such as NX because I'd like to know more about that. X11 forwarding over SSH is amazing but painful over a slow connection.

    1. Peter W.

      RE: TeamViewer on Linux

      Not entirely certain if you've noticed, but they did recently release a Linux version of TeamViewer (albeit it is still in Beta at the moment).

  6. Trevor Pott o_O Gold badge

    @AC && Gaz Jay

    As I mentioned in my first article, the "commercial offering" that I had access to was Teamviewer. I have used both Logmein and ShowmyPC as well, but in a much more limited fashion. (I.E. I use Teamviewer every single day for my day job, the other two only very occasionally.)

    In truth though, I recognise that both of these offerings haven't been properly reviewed, and i am considering doing a set of articles comparing the various commercial remote offerings to each other. Do you have specific "killer features" in either of these products that you admire? Something that makes them stand out from Teamviewer, (or each other?) Or are they, (as my initial impression of them was, based on my admittedly brief exposure to them,) about on par with Teamviewer?

  7. Peter W.

    RE: Where's logmein? / Dont forget

    Do remember that specifically stated in the article was the following statement "picking apart three of the most common implementations". Thus, yes, there were going to be certain omissions for brevity sake, and that this is not just a discussion of remote work solutions but also of remote user support solutions as well.

  8. David 132 Silver badge

    VNC and Intel vPro

    It's perhaps worth mentioning here that the latest version of Intel's vPro business PC platform has VNC server technology built-in to the desktop/notebook computer hardware - so you can view / control a machine even before it's got to the operating system. BIOS setup screen, BSOD screen, Windows Safe Mode - it handles them all rather well, across the LAN or even the Internet, using any standard VNC client at the other end.

    Full disclosure - I work for Intel (but am speaking here in a personal capacity).

  9. PaulStevo


    Whilst I can appreciate the merit of tools like this and the simplicity of using them is fantastic, the fact that they can and do bypass any firewall irk's me.

    What if an organisation doesn't want people able to share their company desktop with Joe Bloggs on the internet. Granted some products now give you an ability to filter for these types of technologies but sometimes the ease of use of a product can have a large price i erms of security. These products do make it hellishly easy for a small amount of social engineering to give someone full access to a desktop inside an organisation directly through their firewalls unhindered.

  10. Anonymous Coward

    ssh? X?

    Of course, you're forgetting the arsenal of remote access mechanisms if you're not tied to the soppy Redmond offering. My collection of servers don't have a "desktop" let alone remote desktop access, but I still use GUI applications to administer them.

    X is not just a window system, it's a window system that runs over a network. On any of my servers I just start up the GUI application of my choice and lo, the window appears on my local desktop. It knocks the spots of remote desktop access. I only use that when I'm fixing the mother-in-law's PC. Again.

    The "three most common" are only the three most common if you're in a Windows-only world. Thankfully I'm not.

  11. Trevor Pott o_O Gold badge

    @AC 09:34 GMT

    They are not only the three most common, they are also three that work across all three major platforms: Windows, OSX and Linux.

    I'll be honest, I gave up X11 over SSH as soon as I discovered XRDP. With XRDP, almost every operating system already has the client portion built right in. With X11 over SSH, I have to configure a pile of stuff on every new system. X11 may be technically superior; but when you are a busy (or lazy) admin, you don't want to be setting clients up on every system you use.

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