Virtual Network Computing, or VNC, allows you to create a remote graphical session on another computer . You will be able to observe a remote Linux desktop environment and interact with it using the mouse and keyboard from your own computer. Using VNC is attractive to many Linux users because you can temporarily disconnect from your remote session and rejoin it later. (Keep in mind that our Linux systems will terminate idle VNC sessions older that 48 hours.)

You can use VNC to graphically connect with any Linux computer in MCECS. Here’s a list of commonly used MCECS Linux systems:

Note that connecting to some Linux systems require you to be on one of our VPNs. Here are our guides for connecting to the VPN:


VNC Guides by Operating System

You can use VNC to connect to a remote graphical Linux session from a Windows, Mac, or another Linux computer, though the process varies depending on the operating system. Therefore, select the guide that corresponds to your computer’s operating system:



Alternative for running Linux graphical applications X Forwarding

In Linux, most applications that support a graphical interface are referred to as X applications. Instead of connecting to a full graphical desktop session on a remote Linux computer, you may choose to remotely run an individual graphical Linux application (such as an engineering specific tool or image editor). These applications can be run from the command line via SSH using a process known as X forwarding. However, they require the presence of an X Server (or equivalent) on your local computer.

The process of X Forwarding is generally easier than starting a full VNC session, though it does have a couple downsides:

  • The X application will only run for as long as the SSH session used to launch it is active.
  • The responsiveness of an X application is heavily dependent on network latency. If you have poor internet connectivity, your remote X application may drop connection and terminate. Using VNC is a safer alternative in situations such as this.

You can learn more about X Forwarding by following our guide: