Last updated
Initial releasev1.0 / 2001;22 years ago (2001) [1]
Stable release
Linux: 1.3.10; Windows: 2.8.75 / February 18, 2023;2 months ago (2023-02-18)
Written in C, C++, Java [2]
Operating system Microsoft Windows, Linux
Available in English [2]
Type Remote administration
License GPL-2.0-or-later
Website tightvnc.com

TightVNC is a free and open-source remote desktop software server and client application for Linux and Windows. A server for macOS is available under a commercial source code license only, without SDK or binary version provided. [3] Constantin Kaplinsky developed TightVNC, [4] using and extending the RFB protocol of Virtual Network Computing (VNC) to allow end-users to control another computer's screen remotely.



TightVNC uses so-called "tight encoding" of areas, which improves performance over low bandwidth connection. It is effectively a combination of the JPEG and zlib compression mechanisms. [5] [6] It is possible to watch videos and play DirectX games through TightVNC over a broadband connection, albeit at a low frame rate.[ citation needed ]

TightVNC includes many other common features of VNC derivatives, such as file transfer capability.


TightVNC is cross-compatible with other client and server implementations of VNC; however, tight encoding is not supported by most other implementations, so it is necessary to use TightVNC at both ends to gain the full advantage of its enhancements. [7]

Among notable enhancements are file transfers, support for the DemoForge DFMirage mirror driver (a type of virtual display driver) to detect screen updates (saves CPU time and increases the performance of TightVNC), ability to zoom the picture and automatic SSH tunneling on Unix.

Since the 2.0 beta, TightVNC supports auto scaling, which resizes the viewer window to the remote users desktop size, regardless of the resolution of the host computer.[ citation needed ]

TightVNC 1.3.10, released in March 2009, is the last version to support Linux/Unix. [8] This version is still often used in guides to set up VNC for Linux. [9] [10]

Derived software


RemoteVNC is a fork of the TightVNC project and adds automatic traversal of NAT and firewalls using Jingle. It requires a GMail account.

TightVNC Portable Edition

The developers have also produced a portable version of the software, [11] available as both U3 and standalone downloads.


TurboVNC is based on the TightVNC 1.3.x, xf4vnc, X.org, and TigerVNC code bases and includes numerous performance enhancements and features targeted at 3D and video workloads. [12] [13]


TigerVNC is VNC server and client software, started as a fork of TightVNC in 2009, after three years of inactivity in TightVNC trunk. It also takes some code from TurboVNC. [14]

See also

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">X Window System</span> Windowing system for bitmap displays on UNIX-like systems

The X Window System is a windowing system for bitmap displays, common on Unix-like operating systems.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Virtual Network Computing</span> Graphical desktop-sharing system

Virtual Network Computing (VNC) is a graphical desktop-sharing system that uses the Remote Frame Buffer protocol (RFB) to remotely control another computer. It transmits the keyboard and mouse input from one computer to another, relaying the graphical-screen updates, over a network.

RealVNC is a company that provides remote access software. The software consists of a server and client application for the Virtual Network Computing (VNC) protocol to control another computer's screen remotely.

Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) is a proprietary protocol developed by Microsoft Corporation which provides a user with a graphical interface to connect to another computer over a network connection. The user employs RDP client software for this purpose, while the other computer must run RDP server software.

RFB is an open simple protocol for remote access to graphical user interfaces. Because it works at the framebuffer level it is applicable to all windowing systems and applications, including Microsoft Windows, macOS and the X Window System. RFB is the protocol used in Virtual Network Computing (VNC) and its derivatives.

x11vnc is a Virtual Network Computing (VNC) server program. It allows remote access from a remote client to a computer hosting an X Window session and the x11vnc software, continuously polling the X server's frame buffer for changes. This allows the user to control their X11 desktop from a remote computer either on the user's own network, or from over the Internet as if the user were sitting in front of it. x11vnc can also poll non-X11 frame buffer devices, such as webcams or TV tuner cards, iPAQ, Neuros OSD, the Linux console, and the Mac OS X graphics display. x11vnc is part of the LibVNCServer project and is free software available under the GNU General Public License. x11vnc was written by Karl Runge.

NX technology, commonly known as NX or NoMachine, is a proprietary cross-platform software application for remote access, desktop sharing, virtual desktop and file transfer between computers. It is developed by the Luxembourg-based company NoMachine.

Remote administration refers to any method of controlling a computer from a remote location. Software that allows remote administration is becoming increasingly common and is often used when it is difficult or impractical to be physically near a system in order to use it. A remote location may refer to a computer in the next room or one on the other side of the world. It may also refer to both legal and illegal remote administration.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Apple Remote Desktop</span> Application by Apple

Apple Remote Desktop (ARD) is a Macintosh application produced by Apple Inc., first released on March 14, 2002, that replaced a similar product called Apple Network Assistant. Aimed at computer administrators responsible for large numbers of computers and teachers who need to assist individuals or perform group demonstrations, Apple Remote Desktop allows users to remotely control or monitor other computers over a network. Mac Pro (2019), Mac mini with a 10Gb Ethernet card, and Mac Studio (2022) have Lights Out Management function and are able to power-on by Apple Remote Desktop.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">UltraVNC</span> Remote desktop software

UltraVNC is an open-source remote-administration/remote-desktop-software utility. The client supports Microsoft Windows and Linux but the server only supports Windows. It uses the VNC protocol to control/access another computer remotely over a network connection.

VirtualGL is an open-source software package that redirects the 3D rendering commands from Unix and Linux OpenGL applications to 3D accelerator hardware in a dedicated server and sends the rendered output to a (thin) client located elsewhere on the network. On the server side, VirtualGL consists of a library that handles the redirection and a wrapper program that instructs applications to use this library. Clients can connect to the server either using a remote X11 connection or using an X11 proxy such as a VNC server. In case of an X11 connection some client-side VirtualGL software is also needed to receive the rendered graphics output separately from the X11 stream. In case of a VNC connection no specific client-side software is needed other than the VNC client itself.

Desktop sharing is a common name for technologies and products that allow remote access and remote collaboration on a person's computer desktop through a graphical terminal emulator.

A web desktop or webtop is a desktop environment embedded in a web browser or similar client application. A webtop integrates web applications, web services, client–server applications, application servers, and applications on the local client into a desktop environment using the desktop metaphor. Web desktops provide an environment similar to that of Windows, Mac, or a graphical user interface on Unix and Linux systems. It is a virtual desktop running in a web browser. In a webtop the applications, data, files, configuration, settings, and access privileges reside remotely over the network. Much of the computing takes place remotely. The browser is primarily used for display and input purposes.

A home server is a computing server located in a private computing residence providing services to other devices inside or outside the household through a home network or the Internet. Such services may include file and printer serving, media center serving, home automation control, web serving, web caching, file sharing and synchronization, video surveillance and digital video recorder, calendar and contact sharing and synchronization, account authentication, and backup services. In the recent times, it has become very common to run literally hundreds of applications as containers, isolated from the host operating system.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Remote desktop software</span> Desktop run remotely from local device

In computing, the term remote desktop refers to a software- or operating system feature that allows a personal computer's desktop environment to be run remotely off of one system, while being displayed on a separate client device. Remote desktop applications have varying features. Some allow attaching to an existing user's session and "remote controlling", either displaying the remote control session or blanking the screen. Taking over a desktop remotely is a form of remote administration.

This page is a comparison of notable remote desktop software available for various platforms.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">ThinLinc</span>

ThinLinc is a cross-platform remote desktop server developed by Cendio AB. The server software and the users' main desktops run on Linux. Clients are available for Linux, Windows, macOS, and a number of thin clients. A browser client using HTML5 technologies is also available.

In computing, SPICE is a remote-display system built for virtual environments which allows users to view a computing "desktop" environment – not only on its computer-server machine, but also from anywhere on the Internet – using a wide variety of machine architectures.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">TigerVNC</span>

TigerVNC is an open source Virtual Network Computing (VNC) server and client software, started as a fork of TightVNC in 2009. The client supports Windows, Linux and macOS. The server supports Linux. There is no server for macOS and the Windows server as of release 1.11.0 is no longer maintained.


  1. "All releases of TightVNC - Freecode".
  2. 1 2 "SourceForge.net: TightVNC".
  3. Server for macOS
  4. Wolf, Chris (2003). "4: Monitoring and Diagnostic Tools". Troubleshooting Microsoft Technologies: The Ultimate Administrator's Repair Manual. The Addison-Wesley Microsoft Technology Series. Boston: Addison-Wesley Professional. p. 121. ISBN   9780321133458 . Retrieved 2017-03-22. TightVNC (www.tightvnc.com) is an improved version of AT&T's Virtual Network Computing (VNC) Viewer that was spearheaded by Constantin Kaplinsky.
  5. "TightVNC". Fedora Project.
  6. "Comparison Results". TightVNC. Archived from the original on 2004-03-13.
  7. "Introduction to TightVNC".
  8. "TightVNC: 1.3.10 released (SourceForge)".
  9. "How to Install and Configure VNC on Ubuntu 20.04".
  10. "How to install a VNC server on Linux".
  11. "TightVNC Portable Edition".
  12. "User's Guide for TurboVNC".
  13. "What About TigerVNC?". turbovnc.org.
  14. Åstrand, Peter (2009-02-27). "Open Letter: Leaving TightVNC, Founding TigerVNC". TightVNC mailing list. Retrieved 2014-02-10.