Copilot on Linux?

A lot of Linux-running geeks are their family’s technical support helpdesk, whether they like it or not. Given that fact, it would be great if Copilot, Fog Creek’s easy-to-use VNC-based desktop remote control system released in August, supported Linux for the helper even if not for the helpee. The software is based on TightVNC, which is cross-platform, so compiling a version for Linux surely can’t be too hard. They just need to integrate it into their website – and, perhaps, to disclaim all support if they feel it would be too great a burden. The people the Linux client is aimed at probably wouldn’t need it.

Hmm… the source is available so perhaps someone could compile it for Linux and make it available? What I don’t quite get is, when I download and run the helper’s software on Windows, it knows “who I am”. Does it look at my browser cookies? Or is the download customised on-the-fly to embed identifying information? I read the spec, but it doesn’t say…

6 thoughts on “Copilot on Linux?

  1. There are already unix apps like rdesktop which run using the Windows rdp protocol though, so no helpee installation is required. Assuming that the helpee is running at least Windows XP Home all that needs to be set up on this machine is a ticked box in the System control panel. Or am I missing something?

    – Chris

  2. Chris: I think you are missing Copilot’s ability to penetrate firewalls.

    cch: but I guess it would be possible to do a build which prompted for the config info (presumably that 12-digit number) when you started it?

    <Gerv looks at a hex dump of the .exe>

    OK, so there’s an <AARDVARKDATA>-delimited section near the end which has an IP address and port number, presumably of the intermediate server, the 12-digit number given in the web page, another 12-digit number and then an RSA private key and then a certificate of some sort.

    It would be interesting to know what they were for, and whether they varied from executable to executable and session to session. Perhaps reading the source code would be enlightening. If they do vary, perhaps one could write a Linux client which parsed them out of the downloaded Windows exe.

  3. I think you are missing Copilot’s ability to penetrate firewalls.

    If you have to physically visit said invalid’s property to install the helpee app anyway, is it really that difficult to ensure there’s a port opened in their firewall?

    – Chris

  4. You don’t have to physically visit them to install the helpee app – it’s a download-and-run .exe from the website. If you were visiting them, you’d just fix the problem! :-)

  5. Ok, this is old and you probably have a solution, but you should check out UltraVNC Single Click client, it might be what you are looking for.

    All that Single Click does is make a reverse VNC connection. On your end you would forward the port through your router and then run VNC in listen mode. This way you can configure it on your end and the ‘helpee’ would just have to double click the file that you send them and you would be connected to their computer.

    On Linux you would use something like:
    xvncviewer -listen

    or whatever vnc viewer software you are using on your Linux machine.