Implementing Remote Display on Commodity Operating Systems

Lei Zhang

Ph.D. Thesis, Department of Computer Science, Columbia University, January 2006


Remote display provides a number of benefits, including ubiquitous access, thin-client computing, remote assistance and secure central management. In practice, it is crucial that remote display systems effectively support existing unmodified applications on commodity operating systems. However, commodity operating system environments have very differ- ent display architectures which impact how remote display can be implemented. This dissertation discusses the details of deploying remote display on commodity operating systems, including Linux(with X Window System) and Microsoft Windows. We focus on the implementation of a remote display system on Microsoft Windows and introduce several tech- niques, including kernel-user mode communication, a high throughput command channel, and efficient synchronization. With these techniques, we successfully implement an asynchronous remote display system on top of a synchronous local display system. Our work extends THINC, a virtual display architecture for remote display, from an X/Linux-only archi- tecture to one across X/Linux and Windows. We present the detailed algorithm we used for supporting a portable command processing pipeline across multiple commodity operating systems. Our experiment results demonstrate that our approach can achieve similar remote display performance on both X/Linux and Windows.



Columbia University Department of Computer Science