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Mac OS X multi-user thin client server (terminal server)?


Is there a product (preferably a free or included one) that allows for one to connect to a otherwise headless desktop/server session running on an OS X box?

As in, where the user is given a graphical session and is able to run apps etc through it, kinda like "Windows Terminal Services" or LTSP.

My exact use case is an office, where we have one Mac, but have multiple developers who want to use it to write their software in XCode at the same time. (licensing issues aside)

marked as duplicate by Chealion, splattne Jul 27 '09 at 21:41

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Aqua Connect Terminal Server (http://www.aquaconnect.net/?page_id=26) provides actual terminal services, though unfortunately it's priced high enough that they won't actually tell you what the price is.


You could try VNC:


Run the VNC server on your Mac, and VNC clients on your Windows PCs. There are many implementations of VNC, and some are free.


  • should have clarified, we want something that allows more than one session to run at once. VNC by itself doesn't do that, afaict, right? – lfaraone Jul 27 '09 at 2:31
  • I don't know about OSX, but in *nix land (of which OSX is a derivitave) you can specify a desktop number after the connection in the form of :x (where x is the session). e.g. OSXMACHINE:1 would connect to desktop 1, OSXMACHINE:2 and soforth. No idea if this works in OSX though. – Mark Henderson Jul 27 '09 at 2:56
  • You don't need to run a VNC server on Mac OS X 10.5 or 10.6. There is an option to allow VNC clients to connect when enabling the Screen Sharing functionnality. Launch the Preferences applications, and go to Sharing. Enable screen sharing, then go to Computer Settings and check "VNC viewers may control screen with password". – Laurent Etiemble Dec 8 '09 at 8:03

TestPlant have instructions on setting up Multiple Desktop Sessions on Mac OS X Tiger with VNC. That works, even over slow (WAN) connections.

The "Aqua Connect Terminal Server" (mentioned above) is nicer, but it requires LAN; it did not perform very well in our tests (6Mbps connection with 60ms).

CodeRebel (2) has a product called "iRAPP", which we still need to test (anybody have any experience with it?).


Your best bet is Apple Remote Desktop, although it is not free and I'm not sure it supports multiple simultaneous sessions.

  • It doesn't. Essentially it's VNC with some extra management features. – user448 Jul 27 '09 at 8:45

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