VNC stands for Virtual Network Computing. It is remote control software, which allows you to view and interact with one computer (the “server“) using a simple program (the “viewer”) on another computer anywhere on the Internet. The two computers don’t even have to be the same type, so for example you can use VNC to view an office Linux machine on your Mac or Windows PC at home. VNC is freely and publicly available and is in widespread active use by millions throughout industry, academia and privately.
Remote control software such as VNC has a variety of uses. It allows a person at a remote computer to assume control of another computer across a network, as if they were sitting in front of the other computer.
The possibilities for musical collaboration via computer becomes readily apparent, and for recording studios with mobile recording facilities, the ability to network with the remote and main control room computer can be extremely useful for troubleshooting and production as well.
For the business user, VNC can be used to provide a flexible hot-desking and road-warrior environment by allowing employees to access their office desktop and server machines from any machine in the company’s offices or from other remote sites, regardless of the type of computers involved at either end. An equally popular business application of VNC is in remote system administration, where VNC is used to allow administrators to take control of employee machines to diagnose and fix problems, or to access and administer server machines without making a trip to the console.
VNC can also be used in educational contexts, for example to allow a distributed group of students simultaneously to view a computer screen being manipulated by an instructor, or to allow the instructor to take control of the students’ computers to provide assistance.
Of course, as these examples illustrate, the variety of uses of VNC is really as diverse as the number of VNC users, a number that is big and growing all the time!