Monday, 1 June 2009


Using VirtualBox v2.2.2, I've got a VM with a plain boring Ubuntu install. Standard setup with no extra magic except that I've turned on VRDP (Settings->Remote Display->Enable VRDP Server. So that's the server side.

On the client side I'm using a Nokia N810 device, rdesktop-cli v1.6.0 and (attempting to use) PyRDesktop 1.5.

Firstly PyRDesktop is slow to start. That aside, I enter the IP of my host, and hit 'connect' - it does. Seemingly satisfied I close the window. Coming back to it a while later to see how *well* it works I start to notice a significant problem - my touch screen interactions seem to be totally mismatched with the resulting output. Imagine a display that just really wasn't calibrated right: I touch the screen in the top left and drag down - a selection starts to be made in the centre of the screen, I touch in the centre and I can just see my selection falling off the bottom right corner... not so useful.


So, I figure I'll leave PyRDesktop out of the equation for a moment at try RDesktop without the 'pretty' (it isn't) Python GUI. Starting out with the reasonably simple "rdp myip" (having aliased the rather stupidly named rdesktop-cli to rdp - surely it should either be rdesktop or rdesktop-client not some weird middle ground?) I find the same problem occurs. Fine, so what's next? Try forcing the thing to use RDP 4 "rdp -4 myip" but that just doesn't work at all, I can't connect that way. Try a bit of a fiddle with compression and caching, neither of which alter anything (did I expect them to?) and then reread the usage information.

Usage: rdp [options] server[:port]
-g: desktop geometry (WxH)

Ah-ha. That looks kind of useful. Try it first with some arbitrary values:

Nokia-N810-43-7:~# rdp -g 480x220
Autoselected keyboard map en-gb
WARNING: Remote desktop changed from 480x220 to 800x600.

This doesn't 'fix' the problem, but it does seem vastly improved. Quickly look up the resolution for the N810 on the magic Internets and try again:

Nokia-N810-43-7:~# rdp -g 800x480
Autoselected keyboard map en-gb
WARNING: Remote desktop changed from 800x480 to 800x600.

Much better. Curious about the warning though - if it hasn't actually used the resolution I've told it to then 1) why not? 2) why has this helped?

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