Xvnc and Cygwin32

Edward Avis EPA "at" datcon.co.uk
Mon, 16 Mar 1998 21:49:07 +0000

This is a message I'm cross-posting to two mailing lists, for two very cool 
products, VNC and Cygwin32.  It's about creating a free X server for 

For those that don't know, VNC is a remote-access package for Windows and 
X.  It uses a simple protocol to send keystrokes and mouse clicks to the 
server, and send graphics back the other way.  It comes in two parts, the 
VNC server (receives input and sends graphics) and the VNC viewer (receives 
graphics from the VNC server and displays them to the user).  There is a 
version of the VNC server which runs on Unix, and acts like a normal X 
server to X clients.  But instead of drawing on the screen, it sends VNC 
protocol to one or more remote VNC viewers.  (There is here the problem of 
differing meanings of "server" and "client" on X.  I'll say "X server", 
"VNC viewer", "X client", "VNC server (for X or for Windows)".)  Similarly 
there is a VNC server for Windows which intercepts / polls the display and 
sends it to one or more VNC viewers.  There are VNC viewers for X, Windows, 
and Java (so you can view your apps in a Web browser, similar to SCO's 
Tarantella). It is free software (GPL).

VNC: http://www.orl.co.uk/vnc

For those that don't know, Cygwin32 is a Unix/POSIX emulation environment 
for Win32.  The core of it is a DLL that provides a Unix API on top of 
Windows, and versions of the GNU binutils that can generate Windows PE 
exes.  It also comes with ports of bash, fileutils, textutils, make, etc. 
 You can port many Unix applications to Windows without changing much if 
any code.  It is free software (mostly under the GPL).

Cygwin32: http://www.cygnus.com/gnu-win32

The point is, it should be possible to port Xvnc, the VNC server for X, to 
Cygwin32.  Then in combination with the VNC viewer for Windows, we would 
have a free X server for Windows.  I know I'm not the only person who 
thinks this would be a good idea - but I'm no expert on X, Cygwin32, or 
VNC.  I hope there are other people out there who would be willing to have 
a go, since many would like a free Windows-based X server.

(Myself, I've done the opposite port - ported the VNC viewer for X to 
Cygwin32 - but I'm a bit stumped about the server.)

Ed Avis
epa "at" datcon.co.uk