Remote Maintenance

In today’s world of high-speed connections, Virtual Private Networks (VPNs), and ubiquitous Internet access, it’s become quite common to have your computer constantly connected to a network. Sometimes, you’ll find yourself needing a file from your Mac and you know it’s out there on the Internet waiting for you, if you could just get to it. Luckily, Mac OS X has several different tools that allow you to securely connect to your Mac, even when you’re far, far away.

The two most commonly used tools for remote maintenance on Mac OS X are Virtual Network Computing (VNC) and the Secure Shell (SSH). Much like many other Mac OS X offerings, you are given a graphical (VNC) and a command-line (SSH) tool. Given that most Mac OS X maintenance tasks can be performed in either environment, pick the one you’re most comfortable with, as described in the following sections.

Virtual Network Computing

Virtual Network Computing, or VNC, is a software package designed to enable a user to remotely connect to a graphical session on another computer. Originally developed by AT&T, VNC is an open source alternative to tools like Symantec’s pcAnywhere and Microsoft’s Remote Desktop. The VNC package is made up of two components: a server and a client. The server runs on the machine that is hosting the graphical session, while the VNC client is run by the user to connect to the VNC server from a remote location, similar to Figure 12-10.

Figure 12-10. The VNC client-server relationship

One of the ...

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