Screen sharing without the screen

Discussion in 'Mac OS X Server, Xserve, and Networking' started by dpcook, Aug 2, 2008.

  1. dpcook macrumors newbie

    Aug 2, 2008
    I run a research group at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas in the College of Engineering. All the computers in my research group are Macs: half a dozen iMacs, a dual G5, a Macbook, Powerbook Pro, a mini. For power computing I have an 8-node, 3gig, Macpro named sandman. I want to be able to use sandman as a server for the other machines. For example, I want to be able to log into sandman from the iMac, chuck, in my office and execute MacOS software running on sandman but displaying on chuck.

    I know that I can do this with Screen Sharing. However, there are times when one of my students is using sandman directly and I don't want to interrupt their session.

    Now, if I ssh into sandman using X11, I can set my display to chuck and successfully execute X11 softeware on sandman but displaying on chuck. I want to be able to do the same thing with MacOS software, e.g. Safari, XCode, or Parallels Desktop.

    Is there a way to do this? Is there a way to do this, not necessarily through ssh but some other route?

    thanks in advance for the help and advice,
  2. ManWithAPlan macrumors member

    Feb 4, 2008
    I am not sure exactly how to do this, and I have a similar need actually. Your mentioning of X-windows is interesting to me. I had used it once in a previous life, though I don't recall all the advantages or how to leverage it. So, I have it running here now, but how do I get it to display back an app from another Mac on the network? I am SSH'd into the other Mac, but don't know how to set the display parameters. Can you assist?

    I am running OSX Server on this machine, and OSX client on others.

    Thanks very very much.
  3. dpcook thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 2, 2008
    What I am currently able to do is this:
    1) I'm currently sitting in front of my laptop hank
    2) I open an X11 window and ssh into my Macpro sandman - ssh sandman
    3) Type "export DISPLAY=hank:0.0" in the X11 window, which points the sandman X11 apps back to hank's display. You might have to use the explicit
    ip address if /etc/hosts doesn't have an entry for hank.
    4) Run any of the X11 apps that are in the directory /usr/X11/bin such as xterm, xeyes, etc.

    What I want to be able to do is run MacOS apps, such as Photoshop, Parallels Desktop, Safari, whatever, on sandman but display them on hank. I know I can do this using Screen Sharing but that means only one person at a time can use sandman. I was hoping there was a way that multiple users could be running virtual desktops on sandman at the same time.

  4. corbywan macrumors regular

    Feb 4, 2008
    Forest Grove, OR
    Just thinking out loud here, no real experience in trying this.

    What if you created multiple user account on sandman and had them logged in on sandman. Would it be possible to have a screen sharing session going with a user that is logged in but not active on sandman? I suspect it isn't or else we'd have been hearing a lot more about it. I would bet that screen sharing is a service of the machine, not based on the user logged in.

    It sounds to me like you are looking to do something like a terminal server. To my knowledge Mac's don't have a way of doing this, at least not in the way you want to do it with the MacOS and all that prettiness. But I could be totally wrong and would love to be corrected on this one.
  5. theyellowdart macrumors regular

    Jul 29, 2008
    The Mitten State
    It almost, in a way, sounds like you might want to look into Netbooting. However, by reading your post, I think it's not completely what you are looking for.

    For a fair amount of software you might just need to mount the /applications folder onto the computers you want access to the software for and go to town.
  6. dpcook thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 2, 2008
    I don't think it is possible to do multiple screen sharing sessions. When I screen share, I always get whatever is currently on the screen of sandman. Now don't get me wrong, screen sharing is a great app, but it isn't what I'm
    looking for.

    You are correct, I'm looking to do a terminal X11 server, but also being able to execute native mac apps, not just the x11 apps. I guess it wouldn't be an X11 server but the whole Darwin(?) server.

    Do all vnc apps requite a physical screen under MacOS?
  7. macsRok macrumors newbie

    Aug 11, 2008
    Multi-user Screen Sharing (use OSXvnc and COTvnc)

    You can accomplish multi-user screen sharing using OSXvnc. You set OSXvnc to startup as a login item for each user on the remote machine. When a user logs in, their own personal VNC server starts up to handle (remote control) their desktop (graphics, keyboard, mouse, etc.); their desktop is assigned a "display number". As long as the user stays logged in, you use a VNC client (I recommend Chicken Of The VNC) to connect to the remote machine, specifying which "display number" (i.e., which user's desktop) to access.

    I am using this approach to use Classic application from my MBP by running them in my account on my iMacG5. My wife can do her work on her account (sitting in front of the iMac) without disturbing her; I just keep my account running in the background (i.e., I never log out from the iMac).
  8. corbywan macrumors regular

    Feb 4, 2008
    Forest Grove, OR
  9. Consultant macrumors G5


    Jun 27, 2007
    Didn't know about OSXvnc.

    VINE VNC also supposed to allow different user sessions under OSX.
  10. stukdog macrumors 6502

    Oct 20, 2004
  11. dpcook thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 2, 2008
    Thanks for the suggestions! I will have to check out both OSXvnc and Aqua Connect when I get back to the office next week.

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