A better VNC

I’ve been using VNCViewer from RealVNC under Linux to remote connect to an older machine running windows. Two reasons, I don’t need yet another screen on my desk, and I need windows to adequately test and use the MySQL GUI products, in particular MySQL Workbench.

I never realised there was a better way, particularly over a local network, a command called rdesktop which is capable of natively speaking Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP).

$ su -
$ yum install rdesktop

This did only give me version 1.3.1. The current version 1.4.1 available from the rdesktop Website does provide greater commands including the syntax I use.

su -
cd /src
wget http://optusnet.dl.sourceforge.net/sourceforge/rdesktop/rdesktop-1.4.1.tar.gz
tar xvfz rdesktop-1.4.1.tar.gz
cd rdesktop-1.4.1
make install

Example Usage

$ rdesktop -u <username> -p <password> -K -N -z -a 16 -x b -P 

Some additional common options include -d <domain> and -f for fullscreen.

Comand Syntax

$ rdesktop
rdesktop: A Remote Desktop Protocol client.
Version 1.4.1. Copyright (C) 1999-2005 Matt Chapman.
See http://www.rdesktop.org/ for more information.

Usage: rdesktop [options] server[:port]
   -u: user name
   -d: domain
   -s: shell
   -c: working directory
   -p: password (- to prompt)
   -n: client hostname
   -k: keyboard layout on server (en-us, de, sv, etc.)
   -g: desktop geometry (WxH)
   -f: full-screen mode
   -b: force bitmap updates
   -L: local codepage
   -B: use BackingStore of X-server (if available)
   -e: disable encryption (French TS)
   -E: disable encryption from client to server
   -m: do not send motion events
   -C: use private colour map
   -D: hide window manager decorations
   -K: keep window manager key bindings
   -S: caption button size (single application mode)
   -T: window title
   -N: enable numlock syncronization
   -X: embed into another window with a given id.
   -a: connection colour depth
   -z: enable rdp compression
   -x: RDP5 experience (m[odem 28.8], b[roadband], l[an] or hex nr.)
   -P: use persistent bitmap caching
   -r: enable specified device redirection (this flag can be repeated)
         '-r comport:COM1=/dev/ttyS0': enable serial redirection of /dev/ttyS0 to COM1
             or      COM1=/dev/ttyS0,COM2=/dev/ttyS1
         '-r disk:floppy=/mnt/floppy': enable redirection of /mnt/floppy to 'floppy' share
             or   'floppy=/mnt/floppy,cdrom=/mnt/cdrom'
         '-r clientname=': Set the client name displayed
             for redirected disks
         '-r lptport:LPT1=/dev/lp0': enable parallel redirection of /dev/lp0 to LPT1
             or      LPT1=/dev/lp0,LPT2=/dev/lp1
         '-r printer:mydeskjet': enable printer redirection
             or      mydeskjet="HP LaserJet IIIP" to enter server driver as well
         '-r sound:[local|off|remote]': enable sound redirection
                     remote would leave sound on server
   -0: attach to console
   -4: use RDP version 4
   -5: use RDP version 5 (default)

I haven’t reviewed the security implications but considering I’m only running in my own internal network, it’s not a major priority.