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Chicken of the VNC - Remote access client Pick of the Week
Chicken of the VNC imageThe macosxhints Rating:
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[Score: 9 out of 10]
In working with my new G5 and the old G4, I did a lot of work with one monitor for two machines, using the free OSXvnc server package. With the server running on one box, you need a client on the other to access the server, and I had been using VNCThing. I wasn't thrilled, however, with its speed or lack of support (perhaps my configuration issues) for my mouse -- it worked, but I couldn't click and drag at all.

So I went looking and stumbled onto Chicken of the VNC. Not only did this make my mouse work much much better (click and drag worked, as did contextual menus and my scroll wheel!), but "the Chicken" also supports the "tight" VNC protocol, which greatly speeds the client/server interaction. Once installed (simple!) and running, I had a much more usable remote access setup.

I'm not sure how well it works over slower connections, but the VNC server/client combo on a LAN makes for a fairly speedy remote experience. I haven't yet tested it from the office to the house, where my cable connection upload speed is the limiting factor, but I expect it will still outperform VNCThing. This won't be useful to everyone, but if you have a need to see a remote Mac / PC / UNIX box on your Mac, check out Chicken of the VNC.
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Link?
Authored by: porkchop_d_clown on Oct 14, '03 08:32:03AM

You're gonna recommend a piece of software but not provide a link?

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Everyone loves a clown, but no one will lend him money!



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It was there...
Authored by: robg on Oct 14, '03 09:01:40AM

It was actually linked on Jason Harris' name. I agree that it wasn't obvious, so I put up a separate Product Page link.

Thanks for the heads-up;

-rob.



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http://sourceforge.net/projects/cotvnc/
Authored by: porkchop_d_clown on Oct 14, '03 08:39:23AM
COTVNC

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Everyone loves a clown, but no one will lend him money!

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Other VNC Clients
Authored by: eclectic on Oct 14, '03 08:48:56AM

I use VNC from my Mac to both Mac and Win 98/2K machines over LAN and internet (through DSL). I tested all of the VNC clients a while back and settled on VNCViewer 2.01 as having the best combination of stability, speed, and features. It's been a while, though, so I'll give Chicken another look (unlike most of the VNC clients for OS X, it's actually been updated in the last two years).



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Other VNC Clients
Authored by: Brontojoris on Oct 14, '03 11:10:10PM

One of the nice features in VNCThing is the ability to resize the window and the contents are scaled down. Anyone know of any other VNC clients with this capability?



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Chicken of the VNC - Remote access client
Authored by: markuswarren on Oct 14, '03 09:08:08AM

I have used VNC for quite some time now, and I love it. I too use VNCViewer 2.01, but will also check out 'the chicken' again, would be good to use 'tight' VNC too. I use RealVNC on most of my W2K servers here and my Mac Servers, and also on most of the desktop machines (both mac and pc), it's just great for managing machines. Even better when you consider i also have it on the machines in our UK and US office, plus at my parents house in the UK. mmm, I love the power!



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RealVNC on OS X???
Authored by: Brock Lee on Oct 14, '03 11:27:38AM
Do you really use RealVNC on OS X? The FAQ claims you cannot:
Is there a version for Mac OS X?

Not for the current version 3.3.7. However, since Mac OS X is Unix, it is much more likely that we will be able to provide a proper port of the standard VNC codebase in a future release.

Thanks,

B.L.

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RealVNC on OS X???
Authored by: quentinsf on Oct 15, '03 10:40:58AM

If you have X11 on your Mac, it's pretty easy to compile the 3.3.7 vncviewer to run under X. It's fast, too.

RealVNC's new 4.0 betas didn't compile out of the box, but should do so without too much tweaking.



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trouble with Chicken of the VNC
Authored by: TokyoJimu on Oct 15, '03 04:20:52AM

I tried Chicken of the VNC a few months back and could get nothing but a blank white screen when connecting to VNC servers.

I now use VNCviewer 2.01, but I must say that I'm not totally pleased with VNC (server or client) under OS X.

Especially on the server side, where sometimes the real screen starts acting funny, or every time I click on something in the dock it's as if I clicked "Show in finder".

I sure hope the RealVNC people decide to support the Mac.



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Chicken of the VNC - Remote access client
Authored by: michelb on Oct 14, '03 11:08:44AM

how does VNC weigh up to Timbuktu? asides from being free..Is it faster, more features? I've been using timbuktu for ages now, and really like the speed..



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Re: Chicken of the VNC (Timbuktu)
Authored by: jelockwood on Oct 14, '03 12:08:52PM

Personally, I find Timbuktu under Mac OS X to be very slow, much slower than it was (is) under Mac OS 9 on the same machine over the same link.

Even over ADSL it is slow, I shudder to think how slow it would be over a modem.

Under Mac OS 9 it is still quite fast.

The bottle neck seems to be the machine being controlled (i.e. a Mac OS X machine controlling a Mac OS 9 machine feels fast, but a Mac OS X machine controlling a Mac OS X machine feels slow).

I am rather disappointed that Netopia seem to have abandoned the product. For example, why no TCP/IP Scanner in Windows? Why not fix the keyboard mapping error between Mac and Windows (which I reported FOUR YEARS AGO!!!), why not integrate with Mac OS X user authentication (like the Windows version integrates with a Windows domain controller or Active Directory).

I worry that it will break with Panther since Netopia do not seem interested in upgrading it. If it does (and Netopia fail to fix it) then I will be forced to using VNC.

I prefer Timbuktu because it is all in one (the controller and controllee code are both in the same program). I have used it since version 1!



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Re: Chicken of the VNC (Timbuktu)
Authored by: muller on Oct 14, '03 01:49:03PM

Yes, Timbuktu 6.0.3 works fine with Panther.

---
----------------
believe you me, this X thing is the next step.



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Chicken of the VNC - Remote access client
Authored by: jdtangney on Oct 15, '03 12:24:10AM

VNC works with a broad range of platforms (incl. MacOS 9, MacOS X, windoze, Linux, various other unixen.) And it's free.



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Chicken of the VNC - Remote access client
Authored by: BMarsh on Oct 14, '03 01:17:22PM

I also found Chicken of the VNC to be my favourite VNC client while doing testing. I use VNC with 2 sets of parents to be able to do remote tech work 200 KM and 400 KM away. Combined with Share My Desktop to make it easy for them to turn on the VNC server, I find it a great tool.

tips: 1) while it doesn't look good, set colours for 256
on an average DSL or cable-modem connection it's pretty darn close to realtime, occasionally having to wait for some things to appear.

2) make sure the other machine isn't doing things like music streaming, file transfers etc... that might be using up the out going bandwidth, this can severely affect refresh rates.



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Chicken of the VNC - Remote access client
Authored by: CompuDude on Oct 14, '03 02:11:22PM

Don't want to knock VNC (hard to beat free!) but has anyone tried NetOp? Been using it on the PC platform for years with fantastic results (stable, fast, and small(ish)... everything pcanywhere is not!), and they recently added Mac support to the newest version. Haven't had the opportunity to upgrade yet, though. Would love to hear some feedback if anyone has used it, though. www.netop.com (U.S. distributor is www.crossteccorp.com). They have a free trial but I don't want to mess with my already-paid-for installations, which are used heavily.



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Problems with ZLib Encoding
Authored by: smeger on Oct 14, '03 02:46:22PM

First off, thanks to Mac OS X Hints for picking Chicken!

Since this is a common problem, I thought I'd mention that Chicken has difficulties connecting to Windows boxes using recent versions of RealVNC while using ZLib-based encodings. The manifestation of this problem is that Chicken will fail to connect with an error message about an unknown subencoding. The work around is to change the encodings in your Chicken profile.

This occurs because RealVNC seems to have "embraced and extended" the VNC spec and I haven't yet been able to figure out what they're doing.

More info on this bug (and a more specific work-around) can be found at here.

Thanks again! And Chicken is GPL'ed, so feel free to jump in and help!

Jason



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Solution
Authored by: germ on Oct 14, '03 03:49:17PM

Use VNCDimension, my favourite VNC client.



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Solution
Authored by: ygor on Oct 15, '03 06:49:55AM

URL, please ?



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Solution
Authored by: ygor on Oct 15, '03 06:54:22AM

The link through VersionTracker is a dead end.

Where can VNCDimension be found ?



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VNCDimension
Authored by: osxpounder on Oct 16, '03 02:39:35PM

There's this thing on the web called Google; heard of it? :o)

If you search for VNCDimension, you'll have no trouble finding it. The URL is too long to paste in here. Google it.

I recommend it, too, over COTVNC, because I can use Apple-N to start a new connection, and a few other hotkeys, too. If one of these other VNC clients offers even more hotkeys, I might take a look, but so far VNCDimension suits me perfectly -- I drive Macs and PCs with it daily.


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--
osxpounder



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VNCDimension
Authored by: bluehz on Oct 17, '03 08:03:14AM

Unfortunately all the links for VNCDimension are down - including the main homepage and the link from Apple. Also tried Google and Download.com (which usually mirrors). Still no d/l available.



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Problems with ZLib Encoding
Authored by: ygor on Oct 15, '03 06:48:49AM

Rather than hacking the Chicken (egad, that sounds rude), has anyone thought to open a dialog with the RealVNC folks ?



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Problems with ZLib Encoding
Authored by: smeger on Oct 15, '03 05:52:18PM

Of course, just haven't found the time to do it. It's that always-cool "only 24 hours in the day" thing. :)

(I agree, "hacking the chicken" is pretty nasty sounding)



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fullscreen shortcut
Authored by: muji on Oct 14, '03 05:29:15PM

i use an azerty keyboard and i cannot invoke the fullscreen shortcut ctrl-option-command-`in chicken of the vnc
Nothing seems to happen, i can offcourse invoke it from the 'connection' menu, but then the only way to get back is force quit the application ...
does anyone have a workaround for this ?



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Chicken Problems with SSH
Authored by: jonwiley on Oct 14, '03 08:13:57PM

OSXvnc server installed on iMac. Netgear WGR614 wireless router. Powerbook G4 12.1" with Airport Extreme card.

The router maps port 22 to the iMac. I'm trying to get CotVNC to connect to OSXvnc from the PB through a wireless SSH tunnel to the iMac.

In Terminal on the PB I write:
ssh -L 5901:localhost:5900 my.routers.ip.address

The connection establishes w/o any problems.

I open a CotVNC session pointed at localhost:1. The window opens to the right perspective of my iMac, but it is a black window. If I minimize it, wait, and then restore the window I will see a sliver of the screen rendered at the top. Clicking does nothing. The bars no longer scroll after this. The screen never updates or is usable.

How can I fix this?



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Chicken Problems with SSH
Authored by: mccabem on Oct 15, '03 12:40:07AM
OSXvnc server installed on iMac.
In Terminal on the PB I write: ssh -L 5901:localhost:5900 my.routers.ip.address

The connection establishes w/o any problems.
Close.

Local port 5901 will be sending traffic to local port 5900.

You don't want this...effectively a traffic loop (within your PB) to nowhere.



Try: ssh -L 5901:(imac's ip address):5901 ([user@]imac's ip address)

You'll have to make sure 5901 will be open to your iMac if that router has a firewall, and make sure the 2 hosts are on the same network, or that the router can connect the 2 different networks. The [user@] is only necessary if your account name on the remote computer is different than the account name from which you are connecting.


Most likely, if you can ping the iMac from the PB, you should be set for the above to work.

At most, you may need to set the iMac as the NetGear's "DMZ" host. This will cause it to forward all inbound connections to the iMac's ports. (No need to mess with individual port forwarding rules this way, but you may alternately go this route if you wish to keep a minimum number of ports open on the iMac. (I use the DMZ feature, FWIW.))



You want to point the VNC client on the PB (CotVNC) to localhost:5901, not :1.

You're set with that.

I do the same every day to access my computer at home from work. (VNC rocks! Use PuTTY to make the tunnel on the PC side.)

Good luck!
-Matt


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Chicken Problems with SSH
Authored by: jonwiley on Oct 15, '03 10:50:00PM

Thanks for your help. I tried what you said, but it still didn't work. But I figured out what I was doing wrong, thanks to your follow-up.

I tried plain VNC - w/o the SSH tunnel. Same behavior as before. I looked at OSXvnc's log and it showed the IP address of my client, or rather, what it thought the IP was.

It was the router's IP address. The iMac is the DMZ for the router, so every time it sent a response out to the client the router sent it back to itself.

I changed the iMac IP I had been using to the one my router assigned it. Worked like a charm. I suspect that when I connect from outside my LAN I'll use the router's IP.



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Chicken of the VNC - Remote access client
Authored by: michelb on Oct 15, '03 06:03:21AM

I'm trying to decide what to do in our office now. Stick with timbuktu or go for apple's remote desktop or VNC. We want the fastest and most configurable piece of software. pc-compaitbility is not neccesary. Is VNC faster than ARD? Also does it consume less cpu when not in use?



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Chicken of the VNC - Remote access client
Authored by: axm99 on Oct 15, '03 09:54:16AM

RDC on my mac works great but the drawback is it will only let you have 1 connection at a time. I use it though to manage the Win2k domain at work. I am not a fan of VNC, it seems to butt heads with other apps sometimes on Windows, can't speak on mac side, but COTVNC sounds promising. I'm going to try it.





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Chicken of the VNC - Remote access client
Authored by: TvE on Oct 16, '03 02:30:27PM

Does anyone have positiev experiences with using a VNC server on OS 9.2.2???

I have a client that need to control OS 9 clients via VNC or such but my tests has allways resulted in that the OS 9 crashes...



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Headless PowerPC G4
Authored by: micrology on Oct 19, '03 11:28:47AM

I am wanting to use Chicken to run my G4 from my G5. I have OSXvnc 1.3 running on the G4, and Chicken otvnc 1.3.6 on the G5. The two are linked by a hub on a LAN. All is well when the G4 is connected to a monitor (Chicken displays the G4 screen as expected), but when I disconnect the G4's monitor and restart (or wake from sleep), Chicken complains that it cannot connect. What am I doing wrong?



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Headless PowerPC G4
Authored by: bischofftep on Oct 20, '03 04:35:09PM

This is a known issue with many Apple machines. During startup, if the system can't find a monitor it will simply not load several display-oriented libraries or extensions. Then, your VNC server, trying to grab a copy of the screen, finds that it doesn't exist.

The workaround is to slap on a monitor adapter or a "headless monitor dongle." A quick search here should give you some pointers on which one works: I found that a simple Mac-to-PC Monitor adapter was cheap and effective.

-Bischofftep



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Chicken of the VNC - Remote access client
Authored by: patniemeyer on Nov 01, '03 01:55:31PM

I had been using Chicken of the VNC happily for a while but it seems to be broken under Panther (v 1.3.6 anyway). I'm hoping there will be an update soon.



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Chicken of the VNC - Remote access client
Authored by: uochris on Nov 01, '03 05:43:19PM

It works fine in Panther except for the full screen mode. You can't set full screen mode with the keyboard shortcuts. If you want to do it you have to select it from the menu bar. This means that you can't get out of full screen mode unless you force quit Chicken.



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Chicken of the VNC - Remote access client
Authored by: dick_ryan on Dec 03, '03 06:08:55PM

I didn't trust the CotVNC binaries for Panther so I downloaded the source and compiled it up with XCode. It puts a .app directory structure in the build directory of the project tree. I dragged that into the Applications folder and it has worked perfectly for me (so far, anyway).



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Chicken of the VNC - Remote access client
Authored by: drpaxis@mac.com on Dec 21, '03 02:06:12PM

I have set up Chicken of the VNC and Share My Desktop with Panther on my LAN. Works perfectly. How the heck to do you set it up to work over the Internet. I cannot easily find out how to do that.

Drpaxis..



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Chicken of the VNC - Remote access client
Authored by: tahart on Aug 19, '05 06:38:14PM

I have Chicken of the VNC running on Mac OSX 10.39 and need to remotely access a feature on a Windows XP porgram which requires the Alt key plus a menu item click. How can I map the Option key to Alt for this? Or, do I need VNCViewer or some other VNC client app for that sort of functionality?



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Chicken of the VNC - Remote access client
Authored by: tahart on Aug 19, '05 07:29:49PM

Duh, it's the Command key. Nevermind...



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