Proposal: Set grdc (Remote Desktop Client) as default remote connection client for Karmic (replaces tsclient and vinagre)

Conn subpsyke at
Wed Jul 8 02:27:20 UTC 2009

I propose that for the GNOME release of Karmic, Grdc Remote Desktop Client
should be installed by default, replacing both the tsclient and vinagre

Availability: grdc 0.6.0-0ubuntu1 available from the universe repository
with minimal extra libraries required (libvncserver0 and potentially
libssh-2). The 0.6 release is considered stable by upstream.
Overview: supports "RDP, VNC, SSH and Avahi network protocols, more stable
multi-threading, password encryption" [1]

Rationale: grdc provides superior features compared to both tsclient and
vinagre combined; performance is equal to tsclient for RDP connections and
superior to vinagre for VNC connections; interface is uncluttered (despite
offering useful advanced functionality); application supports the two most
popular protocols (RDP and VNC) in single interface; upstream development is
active; low disk footprint (installing the packages "grdc libssh-2
libvncserver0" requires 1036KB disk space).

Argument against inclusion: vinagre should be supported since it is part of
the official GNOME desktop set.
Counter-argument: vinagre has not seen significant development in quite some
time, and has serious performance issues for VNC connections and does not
support basic options such as changing bit depth [2].

Brief summary of client features:

1. vinagre (VNC client):
- Supports VNC and Avahi protocols
- Supported by upstream GNOME project and included in default desktop
- Supports full screen, scaling, view only mode.
- Interface allows users to save and open connection "profiles" (called
- Performance is generally considered poor [2]; very slow even over 100Mbit
connection, and lack of colour depth option further reduces options to
improve performance over low bandwidth connections.

2. tsclient (RDP client)
- Potentially supports RDP, VNC, XDMCP, ICA protocols; default configuration
in Ubuntu only provides RDP functionality.
- Supports custom screen resolution, bit depths, full-screen switch (of
which the latter doesn't function).
- Supports custom keyboard mapping (which doesn't work correctly for me).
- Supports creation of connection profiles, but the interface does not have
any way of displaying/choosing previously saved connections.
- Interface provides support for "advanced" features such as bitmap caching,
but advanced settings do not appear to work correctly, nor are they saved
properly when you create a connection profile.
- Performance with RDP connection is generally good (which reflects upon
rdesktop, as tsclient is only a frontend)

3. grdc (RDP/VNC/Avahi/SSH client)
- Supports "RDP, VNC, SSH, Avahi network protocols
- Supports custom screen resolution, bit depths; full-screen switch
available via pulldown toolbar.
- Supports advanced RDP options such as bitmap caching, compression and
attaching to Windows 2003 console (which appear to function, unlike
- Supports VNC options such as remote cursor, view only and disable server
- Interface allows users to save and open connection profiles.
- Interface presents many useful options, but does a good job of isolating
basic options from advanced options via tabs in preferences dialog.
- Supports SSH tunneling.
- Supports grabbing of keyboard events.
- Performance with RDP *and* VNC protocol is excellent.

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