I'm looking for a program to remote desktop from my macbook pro to the ubuntu VM I have set up on my home computer. I've read chicken of the VNC works but after using it, it seems to be incredibly laggy. Is there a better solution out there or do I just have to deal with it?

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  • If you just want a single program, you could also try ssh -X ubuntuVM and then run your programs, e.g.: firefox & – sarnold Mar 4 '11 at 1:35

This site lists a number of servers, such as Vino and krfb. On the mac, you can just use the Screen Sharing client (in Finder's Go menu, click Connect to Server, then enter the address *vnc://***** or whatever IP address the Ubuntu system is on, making sure to retain the **vnc:// portion).

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    This seems promising. I've tried this but it just seems to spend forever trying to contact the ubuntu VM, even after I authenticate the connection on ubuntu. Is this screen sharing meant for this purpose? – DamonKashu Mar 4 '11 at 1:44
  • Screen sharing is just a VNC client. It's definitely an issue with your server software (Chicken)…unless you have a slow network/router? – Inspire48 Mar 4 '11 at 2:19
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    @feifanZ answer is working for ubuntu 15.10, but there is a problem with ubuntu Vino required-encryption setting. simply run this gsettings set org.gnome.Vino require-encryption false before trying to access. – insidepower Nov 2 '15 at 5:44
  • apart from @insidepower tweak, you must set a password in the unity settings window in my case – danius Jan 25 '18 at 0:37
  • I tried to connect from Mac 10.14.5 to Ubuntu 19.04, my Mac complaints the VNC version is not supported. – GummyBear21 Jun 28 at 1:52

Consider using NX - it should be a lot faster than VNC.


JollysFastVNC is reportedly the fastest VNC server available for OSX.

That said, in my experience slow connections in/out from Ubuntu often mean it's trying to do IPv6 when it shouldn't be.


TeamViewer is a very fast VNC-like software - it also bypasses firewall and port-forwarding issues, so incredibly easy to set up. I have only ever used it Windows to Windows, but they have a Mac and Linux version. You should be able to install the unattended version on the Ubuntu VM, so the username and password are always the same.


I successfully logged-in remotely from my iMac macOS Mojave desktop into my hackintosh, which is a retrofitted 2012 Apple Macbook Pro running smoothly Ubuntu 16.04:

From the Ubuntu Desktop

  1. Download and install vino by running sudo apt-get install vino within the Ubuntu terminal.
  2. Next run vino-preferences.
  3. After the vino application preferences window prompts, ensure that the "Allow other users to view your desktop" and "Allow other users to control your desktop" options are selected beneath the "Sharing" field; it is also recommended to select the "You must confirm each access to the this machine" and "Require the user to enter system-password".
  4. Run sudo-reboot and then log-in to the Ubuntu 16.04 desktop.
  5. Retrieve and the device-IP address by running ifconfig -a; the local-IP address of the device will be returned within the terminal-output under the field: "inet addr:" (e.g. inet addr: After noting the local-IP address of the device, proceed with the next set of instructions from your macOS desktop.

From Ubuntu 18.04-2 LTS

  1. Evidently, vino functionality was merged in Ubuntu 18.04.2 LTS Gnome Control Center, so it's much easier- simply go to "Settings".
  2. Within "Settings", scroll down to the "Sharing" tab within the left-hand side of the window.
  3. Turn on "Screen Sharing"- select "Allow connections to control the screen" and "Require a password" underneath "Access Options" then proceed with the below instructions to remotely access your Ubuntu 18.04.2 LTS desktop from your macOS desktop.

Logging-in From macOS Mojave

  1. Access the "Spotlight" by typing "CMD" + "Space-bar"
  2. Within the Spotlight field, enter vnc://your_server_ip:5900 (e.g. vnc://
  3. If successful, the Screen Sharing application should automatically launch within your macOS desktop to remotely view your Ubuntu 16.04 or Ubuntu 18.04.2-LTS device on your local-network as depicted by the screen-shot below- enjoy!

enter image description here


On Ubuntu 12.04 you can use "Desktop Sharing" (type it into the search bar) as the server and take FeifanZ's suggestion for the Mac client. I set the whole thing up in 30 seconds.


Just tunnel your X11 session over SSH. Nice and fast - because you're sending drawing commands, etc. Not whole bitmaps.

ssh -X user@hostname (or IP address)

And then just type the name of a program, eg:


You can run a whole desktop as well.

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    How can I run "a whole desktop"? nautilus just brings up a directory window. – zkurtz Nov 14 '15 at 18:27
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    Failed to connect to Mir when tried to run nautilus. – Jason Nichols Jun 15 '18 at 19:06
  • The way X11 works, you really don't want to put a network round-trip in between an X11 session's IO. It's faster to render remotely – DeepSpace101 Oct 13 '18 at 4:24
  • This is the correct and most simple answer. Mac preinstalled with XQuartz. While "nautilus" just opens the file manager, you can also run "google-chrome" to start Chrome. Basically, you can run anything. The process will be running on the Linux box and the display will be routed to your Mac. I just tried this from my Mac 10.14.5 to Ubuntu 19.04. But I have to say Chrome is a bit slow in this case. – GummyBear21 Jun 28 at 1:51

I've tried cople of options like RealVNC and the builtin one in Ubuntu. And I think that TeamViewer is best one.


NoMachine (NX) is an excellent Remote Desktop solution - good overview here... https://www.linux.com/learn/remote-linux-desktops-nomachine-nx

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