Video demo of the day: VNC on Raspberry Pi

Rob Hague, a good friend of the Raspberry Pi Foundation who has been hacking on an alpha board in his spare time, has a gorgeous little demo of VNC remote desktop running with the Raspberry Pi as a client. Rob’s blogged about it on his own website, so I won’t repeat what he has to say here – go and read it when you’ve watched the video.

Rob sometimes posts on the message boards here as robhague, and you can reach him on Twitter orĀ via his own website if you want to harangue him with any questions. Thanks Rob! It looks like we owe you a beer.


cccam avatar

VNC on Raspberry Pi !

eicristian avatar

cool demo, and ohh this is nice the logo is already on there :D i really like how it looks on the screen

Shane Nielsen avatar

I am so obsessed with raspberry pi!!!

Amin avatar

That’s a really cool demo. I wonder if qtnx might yield better performance as a desktop forwarding application. I know that is supported on ARM since I could install it on my HP Touchpad in an Ubuntu chroot environment. The only disadvantage is that the NX server package is only free on Linux via freenx.

rasz avatar

performance was terrible. I recently evaluated few VNC applications and they all had the same problem, ~5 fps even over 100mbit lan and almost no CPU/bandwidth utilization :( Its as if all VNC implementations I tried decided that 5FPS was good enough and didnt even try to encode/send more data. Only solution i tried that offered fluid 30 fps was streaming desktop with VLC + Synergy for mouse/keyboard. Sadly that also had big lad (encoding).
Tigervnc might be worth a shot, wonder how 700mhz ARM would perform decoding jpeg stream in software (im guessing there is no jpeg decoder on DSP)

jamesh avatar

There is a HW decoder on the GPU. At the moment I don’t think we have a implementation of libjpg that uses it though – but could be wrong.

30fps is going to be pretty difficult to encode/decode at each end, although I agree that VNC is pretty slow, but then, it does do the job.

Ervin Kosch avatar

I’m assuming that the host computer is running at full HD resolution at 24 bit color or higher. If they lower the resolution and/or lower the color depth they should be able to push it to 10.

If I’m going to VNC into a computer I would imagine it would be a server running at 256 colors.

Alexandre avatar

VNC is too slow, i want to see raspberry pi using rdesktop or freenx clients

liz avatar

Then I hope you’ll port one of them when we ship! We rely on community support for software ports, so if you see something here that you think could be improved upon, we’d love you to help us out and make things better.

Alexandre avatar

will be a pleasure, when I have a board in hand i will do.

cb88 avatar

I’ve acutally build the NX client on ubuntu for the pandaboard it was rather a long process as the deb source packages were not well maintained but I was able to get it working so NX definitely works on the pandaboard which is armv7 and it didn’t require “porting” only just building it from source mostly using apt-get -b to build it… If I remember correctly the dependancies didn’t resolve quite right so I had to build some packages and then proceed. That said I stopped using Ubuntu and switched to gentoo on my pandaboard have have been quite happy since… as gentoo has been much more stable.

I didn’t try building the sever component only the client… that said for the server neatx is alot easier to setup even if it is buggy.

Jason avatar

looking good guys..can’t wait to test. Assuming that I could also control Raspberry from MAC.

joukio avatar

freerdp is working on arm already and IMHO is a more mature client for the rdp protocol then rdesktop. NX is spotted running with gnome on a sheevaplug ( so I don’t think this will be a major issue.



cb88 avatar

I was running e17 :D on the pandaboard I have been working with… though I’ve got e16 on it now as its a bit lighter/faster/stable

Michal avatar

One of the first thing I’ll do when I lay my hands on the awesome raspberry pi is I’ll port the Spice client ( or
I bet it’ll have superior performance compared to VNC or RDP.


Kopija avatar

Thank you, more videos please! :)

[…] going to be $35 for the “Model B” with on board ethernet). On the Raspberry Pi blog there’s a video of VNC running on an alpha board. It looks like the Pi is going to be a capable cloud client […]

Ervin Kosch avatar

Can we have a demo of a PC/Mac VNC’ing into a RasPi?

Toge avatar

That seems very slow – hoping for at least 25fps over CAT5! Hopefully someone will do the RasPi justice and we can watch flash!

orvtech avatar

Brilliant!, TBH I cant wait to get my hands on one of these. Hopefully we will be able to display one of this at our next Software Freedom Day (SFD).

Jason Tigg avatar

Logo is excellent

bloodymx avatar

I just cant wait to get my hands on one of these cute things. I havent followed the process quite well, is Model B larger then Model A?

jamesh avatar

Boards are the same, the B just has a couple more components (which makes it slightly taller)

Roman Mamedov avatar

Keep in mind that a good chunk of that slowness is probably caused by suboptimal VNC server on the Macbook. The author used not the VNC server built into the OS but a third-party one, and that one most likely has to do very slow polling/copying of updated bits from the screen, not anything more direct like going via the video driver etc.

kevin bond avatar

How can I purchase the alpha board version of Raspberry Pi?

jamesh avatar

I’m afraid you can’t, all alphas are accounted for at devs and distro people.

RISC avatar

Cool Video.

Can I ask? Someone test NetBSD on R-Pi?

jamesh avatar

I’m sure when the boards are released someone will try to do that. At this stage I don’t think anyway is trying – more important things to do.

waiter avatar

ok, ok. it works. But all these hype start to make me impatient about real news. For example, when we will see final board with credit card size? This is important to me.

jamesh avatar


(AFAIK The dates previously mentioned are still valid – end Nov start Dec)

WASD avatar

That is the release date. I think he was wondering when we will see the followup of the alpha board.

waiter avatar

wasd, you understand 100%.

jamesh avatar

The follow up to the Alpha board is the release board (as long as things don’t go horribly wrong), so not quite sure what the question is.

WASD avatar

Then the question is when the Release Board is going to be announced. I suppose it will be announced before the release date.

(Couldn’t reply to your post jamesh)

Bonaqua avatar

Whats about a little webserver on the R-Pi?

RISC avatar

What about Cherokee?

Gavin Staniforth avatar

SSH XForwarding might be the best option if your Linux/Mac to Pi

jamesh avatar

I’ve tried that and it works fine.

Josh avatar

Oh god. There’s a Mac there. KILL IT WITH FIRE.

Soul_Est avatar

I see no reason for these immature comments. I believe for development work, the current Mac systems would win with their taller 16:10 displays versus the 16:9 displays that many other laptops (ThinkPads especially) have moved on to recently for ‘availability reasons’. I’m currently typing on a MacBook with a 13.3″ 16:10 display (close to perfect size for a backpack) and would love to have a laptop with a taller display, which I can’t afford right now unfortunately. If your getting a current system for development work, the height of the display is key to seeing more of your code, editor, profiler, etc. while you work. You like your machines, stop ragging on the choices of others.

1010101001 avatar

are you opposed to users running something other than the the bootloader, linux kernel and linux os that you suggest?

is this truly unbundled hardware?

or, as usual with today’s computers, will it be tied to a certain bootcode, kernel code and userland code?

liz avatar

Absolutely not opposed at all – frankly, we encourage you to hack the thing as much as you like.

1010101001 avatar

as long as it can boot from usb/sd, i can work with it.

liz avatar

It can, yes.

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