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I have a security camera system that is running Linux and is placed near the cameras (not in an office). It has a VGA out and uses a USB mouse. I'd love to redirect the VGA and USB to another machine on my network. There some cool bash/netcat thing that I can do with some /dev's to push the data over TCP/IP to another Linux box? I'm sure I could use some long extension cables, but I want something cheap and flexible. Any hints?

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2 Answers 2

Sounds like you need either X forwarding or VNC.

X forwarding allows you(via SSH or some such) to execute a program on the remote computer but have all the display "commands" be sent to your local computer. It's notoriously slow, but is the best solution when you're not dealing with graphically intense thingsAND you're just wanting to see a single window and not the whole screen (and your LAN is fairly fast, ie 100Mbit or more). X forwarding also lets you control the program and such with a mouse from your remote machine.

VNC on the other hand will basically take a series of screen captures on the remote machine and forward them over to your machine. You can also control the remote computer by using your mouse and such. You see the entire remote "desktop" (assuming your using a GUI) and you can interact with it as if your screen and mouse were plugged into the remote machine. VNC is usually pretty performant when compared to X forwarding.

The primary differences:

  • X only allows you to forward "programs" and not the entire desktop
  • VNC only allows the entire desktop, which can be annoying if you just need a tiny window
  • In general(I think) with X forwarded programs, you can only run them in one place or another. So, you'd have to run two instances of the program if you wanted to see the display on both your local machine and the remote machine.
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If the Linux box is using X, and you can start the applications used via the shell, you may try this:

  • have a local X server running on the system you want to bring the display/mouse to - on a Windows system, you can install Xming, and leave access controls turned off for simplicity.
  • go to the Linux box and type export DISPLAY={IP of your Windows system}:0
  • try running the application - it may need command line switches to tell it a different display

Since rendering camera feeds from video is involved, the above is likely not going to work very well. Remote video and mouse control is unfortunately not as simple as piping data over the network to /dev files.

You may just need to look at some "KVM-over-IP" hardware.

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