DeskWatcher is a commercial application released by Thomas Milius towards the end of 2020 that provides RISC OS with its very own system for sharing screens between multiple machines over a network, and an updated version is now available.
The application takes advantage of the fact that both client and server are running RISC OS. The server can intercept RISC OS calls that deal with the display, and it passes those calls across the network to the client so that it can act on them. This means that where the server’s screen is being drawn without recourse to bitmap data, the amount of data being sent across the network is minimised.
There are facilities for one of the machines to control the other, making it a useful alternative to VNC if both client and server are running RISC OS, and there is also a file transfer facility, and a means to reverse the client/server relationship as a means to provide remote support.
For version 0.09, a couple of problems have been dealt with, and some new features added.
The first new feature is that the software now supports the MakeMJPEG protocols for creating MJPEG movie files. With one obvious use case of DeskWatcher being cross-network demonstrations – whether the use of RISC OS itself, or individual applications – the ability to record those demonstrations to turn into how-to videos for future use is a sensible idea, and that’s what this offers (though note that this will be the screen only, not audio – that would need to be added separately by other means).
There are now configuration windows for server and client settings, and server users.
The software has been tested on the IyonixPC, BeagleBoardXM, Raspberry Pi B, 2B, and 3B+ – though it should run on most modern hardware-based RISC OS platforms (i.e. with the exception of RPCEmu), and it is available from Thomas’ business Stader Softwareentwicklung GmbH (English version) at a number of different price points depending on the type of licence you need.