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Gate One HTML5 X11 Alpha

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Published on Nov 6, 2013

Get notified when the public beta is ready: http://gate-one-x11.kickoffpages.com/

When was the last time you saw a remote desktop tool that was fast/efficient enough to play back video? Probably never!

This video demonstrates Gate One's forthcoming X11 feature. It can run in "rooted" (whole desktop) or "rootless" modes and works with just about *any* X11 application. Features:

* It is fast/efficient enough to play back 30fps video! CPU utilization (of gateone.py) during playback of the video was around 5%.
* It's actually capped @30fps--it could go faster if I let it.
* Bandwidth utilization during the playback of the video was hovering around 1Mbits/sec (JPEG encoding at quality level 75). With various adjustments in encoding quality/codec that can be reduced to around ~250kbits/sec (not as pretty but still usable).
* A more realistic benchmark: With the same exact desktop running 'top' in a terminal with a 1s refresh rate and WebP encoding (quality level 80) Gate One utilized ~64kbits/sec. The very same test using noVNC utilized ~450kbits/sec.
* It supports PNG, JPEG, and WebP at any quality level and all of that can be adjusted on-the-fly. Lossless WebP support is also there but the CPU overhead is probably too high for it to be usable (anyone want to write a faster WebP encoder that works in Python?). It can actually use just about any image format; if browsers support it Gate One can use it.
* Just like Gate One's Terminal application, X11 apps can be embedded into *any web page*. To put it another way, you could open up a spreadsheet in LibreOffice inside whatever web page you desire.
* It can do RDP *and* VNC! Interestingly enough, if you run a VNC client inside of Gate One it will actually use *less* bandwidth than it would natively! Still haven't tested RDP but it's probably the same.
* It works with SSH X11 forwarding.
* It utilizes client-side and server-side caching of images to minimize bandwidth utilization. The degree to which it does this is adjustable.

How does it work? On the client it's "just canvas" (2d context), WebSockets, and a bit of JavaScript. On the server it uses the Python bindings for XCB (xpyb), Pillow (PIL fork), and a whole lot of Gate One's special sauce.

Of course it's a lot more complicated than that so you'll just have to wait until the public beta to find out more.

Right now it is still too buggy to make public (as demonstrated by the menus that appear in the wrong location at the end of the video) but there's only a few items left in the, "before beta TODO list."

More about Gate One: http://liftoffsoftware.com/Products/G...
Gate One on Github: https://github.com/liftoff/GateOne (X11 support is still private, sorry =)
What was that video? Big Buck Bunny: http://www.bigbuckbunny.org/

*Disclaimer:* No browser plugins were used in the making of this video. That's right: No Java. No Flash. No extensions either.

Want to help? There's a big bug with the xpyb package in both Debian and Ubuntu that's been a real a thorn in my side: https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+so...

Any assistance in getting that bug fixed would be helpful. I don't know enough about SWIG or the xpyb build process to fix it myself. Adding support for Python 3 to xpyb would also be great!

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