Chapter 2. The Remote Frame Buffer protocol

This chapter provides a brief description of the Remote Frame Buffer protocol used by Remote Desktop Connection and by other compatible systems. If you are already familiar with Remote Frame Buffer, you can safely skip this chapter.

The high level implementation of a system using the Remote Frame Buffer protocol is known as Virtual Network Computer, or more often just as VNC.

Remote Frame Buffer (or RFB for short) is a simple protocol for remote access to graphical user interfaces. It works at the frame-buffer level, which roughly corresponds to the rendered screen image, which means that it can be applied to all windowing systems (including X11, Mac® OS and Microsoft® Windows®). Remote Frame Buffer applications exist for many platforms, and can often be free re-distributed.

In the Remote Frame Buffer protocol, the application that runs on the machine where the user sits (containing the display, keyboard and pointer) is called the client. The application that runs on the machine where the framebuffer is located (which is running the windowing system and applications that the user is remotely controlling) is called the server. Remote Desktop Connection is the KDE client for the Remote Frame Buffer protocol. Desktop Sharing is the KDE server for the Remote Frame Buffer protocol.

It takes a reasonable amount of network traffic to send an image of the framebuffer, so Remote Frame Buffer works best over high bandwidth links, such as a local area network. It is still possible to use Remote Desktop Connection over other links, but performance is unlikely to be as good.