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VNC

As an alternative to the web interface, you can use VNC with various desktop clients. The main advantage of VNC over the browser is the ability to expand the image to the full screen, as well as complete interception of all keyboard keys. In some cases, VNC will be more responsive than the browser, especially on weak computers.

Warning

Don't use VNC without X.509 or TLS encryption on untrusted networks! Otherwise your password will be transmitted over the network in plain text. Unfortunately, this is the reality of the VNC protocol.

Enabling VNC on the PiKVM side

  1. Switch PiKVM filesystem to read-write mode using command rw.

  2. Optional: Change client's keyboard layout if you're using an non-US keyboard. To do this edit file /etc/kvmd/override.yaml:

    vnc:
        keymap: /usr/share/kvmd/keymaps/ru
    

    All available keymaps are located in /usr/share/kvmd/keymaps:

  3. Optional: This step is not nessessory if using TigerVNC. Some VNC clients (for example TightVNC) can't use user/password authentication. In this case you can enable passphrases mode in /etc/kvmd/override.yaml:

    vnc:
        auth:
            vncauth:
                enabled: true
    

    To set passphrases edit file /etc/kvmd/vncpasswd.

  4. Enable kvmd-vnc daemon. VNC will be available on the port 5900: systemctl enable --now kvmd-vnc.

  5. Switch filesystem back to read-only: ro.

Configuring the client

We recommend TigerVNC for a better experience on desktop.

Here are our recommended settings for TigerVNC:

  • Compression tab:
    • Choose Tight encoding as preferred and color-level Full.
    • Disable automatic quality adjust settings Auto Select.
    • Enable Allow JPEG compression.
  • Security tab:
    • Enable None, X.509 TLS and Anonymous TLS encryption (or choose one preferred mode).
    • Enable Username and password authentication.

For iOS and Android the recommended application is bVNC:

Unsupported clients

  • RealVNC - Does not support most widely used open VNC protocol extensions.
  • Guacamole - Incorrectly implements vencrypt, no JPEG compression.
  • Vinagre - Incorrectly implements vencrypt.
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