Lets bundle forces

Michael Ossmann michael.ossmann "at" alttech.com
Tue, 15 Jan 2002 01:10:26 +0000

On Mon, Jan 14, 2002 at 02:42:20PM +0100, Rudi De Vos wrote:
> It seems that a lot of people are developping add-ons, improvements
> etc....
> Why not combine forces and make VNC faster, more secure,...

This is not the first time this subject has come up in the short time
I've been on this list.  One of the more informative posts on this

On Sat, Dec 29, 2001 at 11:21:34 +0000, Till Adam wrote:
> I think most of us in the vnc community agree, that the big problem
> vnc is facing at the moment is fragmentation. 
> The logical thing to do, in my opinion, would be to bring all these
> projects together (tightvnc, tridia, the hexonet folks, at&t of
> course, svnc, directvnc, fbvnc, the mac people the list probably goes
> on), and agree on a modularized design where encodings and frontends
> can be easily added and maintained. 
> This would probably best be done, I think, by initiating a new
> project, possibly on sourceforge or savannah, gather the people that
> want to help, and brainstorm away. After the design is agreed upon,
> everyone can go and write the module that encapsulates their specific
> platform or encoding. 
> An alternative would be if AT&T would re-take responsibility for their
> baby and lead us in this effort. 

It seems pretty clear to me that AT&T does not have an interest in
really devoting resources to a general purpose community project.
They've opened the code, which is wonderful, but they don't actively
update the official release except with features that meet their own

> 1) this will probably collide with commercial interest on the part of
> some of the above mentioned folks working on vnc at the moment 

None of the commercial players have made enough of an effort to open a
dialogue with the community.  That's not to say they don't have great
products or that they haven't made great contributions, but they have
not created a de facto standard VNC distribution with a sizable amount
of community involvement.

> 2) I dont have a design written up yet and its probably a bad idea to
> come forward with this now without having thought through the details
> ;) 

Andrew van der Stock has certainly made some great headway in this area.

> Am I making sense with this? If so who'd be interested? Const?
> Anyone? 

I'm interested.  I've been familiarizing myself with VNC lately because
I am considering using it as a key component in a larger (bloated :-)
project.  If I go through with my project, I will definitely want to
have a standard and stable VNC distribution to rely upon, and I would
very much be interested in contributing in any way I can.

I propose that we either start a new project, get behind TightVNC, or
get behind Andrew's project.  Of all the open projects, Const's TightVNC
is the closest to being what we would like to see right now, but
Andrew's project is the closest to where we would like to be in the

I would very much like to see the creation of a mailing list devoted to
the RFB protocol that is separate from any of the software mailing
lists.  Discussion and eventual standardization of a protocol
specification will be essential to success of a new project, and
Andrew's work is a great place to start.

It might be a good idea to choose a new name and announce the project
and goals.  How about OpenVNC?  Not that the original VNC code isn't
open, but our focus will be on having a very open and active development
process.  TightVNC is a fabulous starting point, but a more general
purpose distribution with broader goals would be appropriate.  If Const
is willing to take this on, I nominate him for project coordinator.  I'd
also like to see Andrew start the RFB mailing list and lead efforts (as
he already is doing) to standardize and implement the new protocol.  As
the new protocol implementation becomes stable, Const (or whoever the
project leader is) can make decisions about when to fold it into the
main release.  Andrew or others may also be appropriate project leaders.
Suggestions would be welcome.

Keep in mind that I am fairly new to this community.  Please feel free
to jump in and point out any stupid things I write.  I'd really like to
see this happen, so please make suggestions and/or voice your support or

Mike Ossmann, Tarantella/UNIX Engineer/Instructor
Alternative Technology, Inc.  http://www.alttech.com/
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