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PalmVNC 1.1: Virtual Network Computing Client for Palm Platform

  "PalmVNC supports remote access (view and control) to your Win95/NT or UNIX desktop via Inter-/Intranet. PalmVNC also allows you to collaborate with people in your office from your PalmPilot or PalmIII PDA"


PalmVNC is an implementation of the VNC (Virtual Network Computing) protocol developed by ORL ( for PalmOS 2.0 or higher. The current (1.1) version of PalmVNC supports VNC 3.3.1 and 3.3.2 and has been tested with Win95, WinNT 3.3.2 R2 and Solaris 2.5 VNC servers released by May 1st of 1998.

PalmVNC allows users to access a remote computer desktop via Internet or Intranet, i.e. to view and control all applications, to collaborate with a person currently working at this desktop.

Currently (August 1998), PalmVNC for the Palm Platform is the first system for remote access and synchronous collaboration for PDAs and mobile devices.

Our Goal

The goal of our development is to provide a research prototype of a remote access and collaboration environment for a rapidly growing number of PDAs and small mobile computing devices. This work was carried out in the scope of research on new collaboration and communication environments for enterprise networks.

PDAs are very different from notebooks in sense of their purpose and their core application area. PDA are thought to provide a faster and simpler access to important information. PDAs users usually look-up more information than they enter. But also a PDA is always with its owner and it is switched on and off more frequently than a notebook. Due to last developments PDAs are used more and more for sending and receiving messages and processing information collected from the network. They even help people to keep in touch with the office while they are on the road. We want to explore which particular aspects of synchronous, asynchronous collaborative work and office communications can be supported by a PDA.

With PalmVNC we wanted to provide a test platform and collect user feedback about available and desired features, about user needs. We think, that in this area it is difficult to find answers to these questions by doing a survey in user groups. It is better to let people try, collect feedback and then analyze the real , practical results.

PalmVNC currently has all features of its PC-based counterparts. The version 1.1 additionally provides special control commands for WinNT-based VNC servers. But the main thought in the design of this and especially of the future versions is to provide additional, PDA-dedicated features. One example is that PalmVNC is able to store the coordinates of last viewed portion of the screen and show this area first, after the connection is established again. This supports easy access to some areas of the desktop screen. This is often required if the user needs to periodically see important but changing information on the desktop or to review some results of a long computation.

The version 1.1 was released with the source code under GNU General Public License. Interested developers are welcome to contribute any changes and new features.

What is that good for?

PalmVNC is a PDA application, and PDA is PDA and not a 8 lbs notebook with a 15" color display and 300MHz processor. That means not only that a PDA has smaller size but it also (and mainly) means that a PDA has another application areas than "usual", even somewhat-mobile computing devices. PDAs are small, low power devices which help users to have crucial information on their finger tips, make important notes, simple computations, etc.

This is also valid for PalmVNC. Do not expect to continue to work on slides for your next presentation or to complete the design of a new product logo. If you really need to do that out of your office ask your chef to buy you a notebook.

Use PalmVNC to



PalmVNC is available at no costs, like the VNC core system itself. You can download the latest version from here:

PalmVNC 1.1 for PalmOS 2.0 or higher

The source code is also available. Please read the GNU Public License for legal details! If you have done any improvements, please submit them as patch file. An updated version will be posted on this page.

PalmVNC 1.1 source code

Harakan Software took over the development of PalmVNC and created an exciting new version. Go to  to get it.

Version history

 Version  Fixed bugs  Changes
 1.0  none, only some unknown....  we will see...
  •  Broken connection and VNC initialization problems, especially with the NT-based VNC server
  •  PalmVNC is able to re-use a network link, opened by another application
  • Network performance statistics added to the console output. Data is shown each time after a connection was closed
  • "Port #" is "Setup" is changed to "Display #". Use the same values here as you setup in the VNC server
  •  DNS problems are solved
  • send Ctrl-Alt-Del
  • send special WinNT key combinations for automatic login, logout, reboot, locking of the desktop
  • clipboard transfer between a server and PalmVNC
  • enforcing of the modem hang-up via PalmVNC menus
  • copy/paste in the console and setup windows
  • some grayscale support. It is not activated in the binaries

Required hardware and software

As you can suggest, you need a Palm device to use PalmVNC. PalmVNC works on PalmPilot Professional, IBM Workpad, PalmIII. PalmVNC will not work on PalmPilot Personal because the network capability is required for operation.

PalmVNC will not work on a Palm-sized device, since it is powered by Windows CE and is not supported.

On the desktop (Win95/NT or UNIX) side you need a VNC server, which is available from the ORL:

A modem is required for the network operation.

If you have no modem, see the next section for tips how to connect to the network via the Palm cradle.

For those who have no Palm device or modem

These (unlucky ;-)) people can try PalmVNC in a PalmOS Emulator or in the CoPilot.

The modem functionality can be emulated by a null modem cable.

You can set up the PalmOS Emulator to use one end of the cable on, for example, COM1 as a Palm serial port and connect the other end to COM2 and set up a dial-in PPP server on that port.

The last set-up is also know to provide network connections via the Palm docking station (cradle). If you use the PalmOS Emulator or the CoPilot, you simply use a null-modem cable in place of cradle.

Screen shots

 Connect Menu  Command Menu

Some tips concerning better representation quality

Legal Notes

This is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation; either version 2 of the License, or (at your option) any later version.

This software is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU General Public License for more details.

You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License along with this software; if not, write to the Free Software Foundation, Inc., 59 Temple Place - Suite 330, Boston, MA 02111-1307, USA.


Copyright (C) 1998 International Computer Science Institute (ICSI)
Author: Vladimir Minenko

Some parts are

Copyright (C) 1997, 1998 Olivetti & Oracle Research Laboratory