Friday, July 27, 2007

TSclientX: replace Microsoft's Remote Desktop Client with one made for OS X

I use Microsoft's Remote Desktop Client to control XP machines at home and work and to connect to Windows Terminal Servers (Win 2003). The terminal services interactions in particular are awesome, there's nothing comparable in the OS X world. It's my top complaint about OS X -- that Apple has never even tried to match Microsoft's six-plus year old remote control technology. 

Microsoft's Remote Desktop Client works very, very well under XP. They even made a client for OS X, but they stopped updating it a while ago. It's increasingly flaky, though I use it with some success even under 10.4.10 on a MacTel. I doubt, however, that it will work at all under 10.5 (BTW, I don't expect 10.5 until the spring of 2008 -- projects that big don't slip by only a few months, if it ships in October 2007 it will be dangerous).

So I'm very interested in TSclientX - An alternative RDP Client for Mac OS X. Runs native on Intel. Alas, it requires X11 ..

TSclientX is a Windows Terminal Services client for Mac OS X.  It appears to be a regular Mac OS application but is in fact an assembly of free software working in concert to provide similar (better?)  functionality to the official Remote Desktop Connection from Microsoft. Additionally, there is a nice tidy VNC Viewer built right in as well.

What makes TSclientX interesting compared to other Mac RDP Clients?

- SeamlessRDP is brought to you by Cendio's SeamlessRDP component.   It was originally introduced in rdesktop 1.5 and just simply rocks...

- Stability and speed on Intel Macs (and PowerPC Macs for that matter)   has been found by many to be superior compared to the official  Mac RDP client.

The most interesting ingredients are:

rdesktop 1.5 -
An open source client for Windows NT Terminal Server and Windows 2000/2003 Terminal Services

tsclient 0.148  - A frontend for rdesktop and other remote desktop tools

VNC Viewer 4.1.2 - Virtual Network Computing

libao 0.86 - A cross platform audio library with CoreAudio support.

The GUI uses an optimized GTK+ build, specifically compiled for TSclientX.  Like most Unix-derived software on the Mac, Apple's X11 is required...

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