Screen Sharing with Mac OS X and GNU/Linux

Today, I discovered how to share my Mac OS X (Leopard) screen with another non-Mac OS X computer. Not a big deal, as it is almost automatic, but I’m posting it here as I did a search and I didn’t find how to do it.

What you need to do in your Mac OS X box is enabling the Screen Sharing service from the Sharing options in the System Preferences.


Before establishing the connection you need to setup a password. This is done in the “Computer Settings…” button, just like this:


Do not avoid the password step, if you do it the connection will not be established.

Finally, you only need a VNC client in your GNU/Linux box. Not all the clients work, one that it does is the TightVNC viewer. In Debian, you can just type:

apt-get install xtightvncviewer

Once installed, you only need to run it and supply the IP address of your Mac OS X box and the password you configured.


Enjoy it!


10 Responses to “Screen Sharing with Mac OS X and GNU/Linux”

  1. Matt Says:

    This doesn’t seem to work with OSX 10.5. I get this message, using TightVnc 1.3.9:

    $ ./vncviewer
    Connected to RFB server, using protocol version 3.8
    Server did not offer supported security type

  2. savaged Says:

    Great article, thanks for posting your findings. I got this working first time on Ubuntu Hardy Heron and Mac Leopard, following the above. Thanks again.

  3. Miquel Says:

    Matt… there is a way to solve that.

    I had the same problem trying to use tightvnc on my ubuntu’s box.

    Use OSXVnc (you can find it here) it works as a vnc server in a different port (you can define it, starting at 5901) and you’re not going to have any issues, if you try to connect to it using different OSes.

    Kind regards.


  4. grant Says:

    thanks for this, gonna set it up now

  5. GerdH Says:

    Thanks for posting this! Once I set “VNC viewers may control screen with password”, I can use both UltraVNC and TightVNC to connect to Leopard from a Windows XP machine.

    Without this setting:

    TightVNC returned “Server did not offer supported security type”
    UltraVNC returned “Incompatible Versions”

  6. Louis Says:

    Thanks GerdH! That fixed it for me too. Thanks aleix for the article.

  7. RR Says:

    I had omitted setting the password on my first attempt and was not able to connect. After following your advice of setting the password, I am able to connect to it. Many thanks.


  8. Sabuj Pattanayek Says:

    I had the same “Server did not offer supported security type” problem with vncviewer (tightvnc viewer from linux) connecting to an OSX 10.6 system. I had to modify my enableOSXVNC script to this (run as root) :


    /System/Library/CoreServices/RemoteManagement/ -verbose -activate -restart -agent -allowAccessFor -allUsers -privs -all -clientopts -setvnclegacy -vnclegacy yes -setvncpw -vncpw passwordYouWantToUse

    Here’s the one to disable it


    /System/Library/CoreServices/RemoteManagement/ -verbose -deactivate

    It’s probably the -setvnclegacy -vnclegacy yes that does the trick.

  9. Vishnu Says:

    Thanks for the article!.

  10. Ross Huggett Says:

    Very useful. Sorted my problem. Thanks.

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