How to Setup Remote Desktop / VNC on Libre Computer Boards

Remote access to a Linux SBC or computer can be done through multiple tools. Before selecting the best tool for the job, it is necessary to understand how remote access on Linux works in general and the breakdown of how Linux display systems actually work. Additionally, there are difference between how VNC and RDP remote desktop protocols work along with differences in compatibility between server/client implementations. We generally recommend RDP over VNC since the RDP protocol has advantages.

Raspbian is Debian with window dressing from the Raspberry Pi Foundation. By default, the 11 and 12 Desktop versions uses X11 and LXDE. The default VNC server in raspi-config tool is RealVNC, which is a commercial offering for Raspberry Pi boards. It is assumed that RealVNC pays the Raspberry Pi Foundation to include its implementation of VNC as RealVNC is not part of Debian. We recommend using one of the X11 Remote Desktop alternatives listed below and paying for the commercial offering included by default.

Ubuntu Desktop uses Gnome by default. Gnome’s compositor, Mutter, supports both X11 and Wayland modes with Wayland as default on Libre Computer images. Gnome can use any remote desktop server but it includes a integrated RDP server that can be enabled through Gnome Settings.

X11 Remote Desktop Servers

  • gnome-remote-desktop - RDP - Gnome only
  • freerdp2-shadow-x11 - RDP
  • xrdp - RDP
  • tigervnc - VNC
  • tightvnc - VNC
  • x11vnc - VNC
  • krfb (KDE)
  • vino - VNC - Gnome only and deprecated

Wayland Remote Desktop Servers

  • gnome-remote-desktop - RDP - Gnome only
  • weston-rdp - Weston only
  • wayvnc - VNC - wlroots only
  • vino - VNC - Gnome only and deprecated

RDP Remote Desktop Clients

  • remmina
  • freerdp2-wayland - Wayland only
  • vinagre
  • gnome-connections
  • krdc (KDE)

VNC Remote Desktop Clients

  • directvnc - FB only
  • remmina
  • gnome-connections
  • krdc (KDE)
  • novnc - HTML5
  • ssvnc
  • tigervnc-viewer
  • xtightvncviewer

We will introduce individual setup guides in the future.

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