Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I need to use an RubyMine IDE running on a Linux machine from a Windows desktop. I want to make that remote Linux application window to behave as close as possible to a normal local Windows application. As far as I understand, my two options are:

  1. Use VNC to bring the whole Linux desktop to my Windows machine.

  2. Use X server on Windows as a server for a X client running on Linux.

My questions:

  1. For a full-screen (1920x1080) application use, over <1ms ping gigabit network, will any of the above solutions feel like a local application? E.g. no perceptible lag, normal mouse behavior, snappy window repaints, etc.

  2. Which of the above is more "integrated" into Windows desktop? E.g. will my mouse wheel work, can I use cut&paste between Windows and Linux app?

  3. Any other serious reason why I should prefer one over the other?

share|improve this question
up vote 2 down vote accepted

Based on the request for making it work as is you were runing as an App in windows, it sounds like X is the best choice. VNC is a nice simple remote protocol, but it always seems to choke on some condition that makes it less than ideal for serious use. Another comment, is that many anti-virus packages like to complain about some components in VNC, typically reporting the view capture software as trojans. They'r not, but if you are in a strict enterprise environmennt, X is more tolerated than VNC.

share|improve this answer
not many people run anti-virus on Unices, and if X is an alternative, I guess the host is running Unix... – Janus Troelsen Nov 5 '12 at 20:52

From my experience and what I learned, X11 requires many more back and forth packets through internet, while each is small. VNC is the opposite: less packets but larger size.

Given this people really need to choose which protocol to use based on the latency/bandwidth of their connection. I'd say in general VNC appears more responsive, and in your case (<1ms ping gigabit network), both would work well!

share|improve this answer

I will go definitely over VNC. There are lots of options for Windows, you could try the free version of RealVNC.

I would say that VNC has been into Windows for a longer time with a longed user base and its a more tried and tested solution. You won't notice almost any lag, I use it to work on a remote desktop in Internet and while some lag is noticeable it's something completely doable (with a 1Mb ADSL).

share|improve this answer
Well since I personally have used X server on Windows in Windows 95 days (before VNC was invented), I would argue about "...been into Windows for a longer time". VNC is a new kid on a block here, X is 1980s technology. – haimg Feb 28 '12 at 22:21
Well, you're right. I should have said only that has a much bigger user base and there are lots of options to choose from. You're really right, X was before. VNC is 1999 technology. – Ignacio Soler Garcia Feb 28 '12 at 22:31

I have had great results using the NoMachine NX client on the Windows PC coupled with the NX Free Edition server on the Linux machine. NoMachine has commercial versions of the server but the free edition has proven to be more than enough for my needs and the client is always free.

In terms of lag and usability, I've found that it is much faster and more responsive than other alternatives like VNC, even over slower internet connections. The connection is also secured over SSH - if not by default, it can be enabled. This is a major advantage in my opinion since it is easy to enable and use.

share|improve this answer

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .