DRAC 5 console with Firefox 3.0.5 on Red Hat

Adam Nielsen adam.nielsen at uq.edu.au
Wed Mar 17 19:24:51 CDT 2010

>> I would've preferred to use VNC as it's readily available and easy  
>> to install, so I'm just wondering why Dell chose a custom protocol  
>> instead.
> Exceedingly good question!

And one I suspect we'll never hear the answer to :-)

> I believe that the original VNC project ceased (with the closure of  
> AT&T Laboratories Cambridge) without encryption as a feature. I have  
> always felt this a shame, as there seems to be some fragmentation of  
> projects now. Some of the original developers formed RealVNC, but they  
> sell their product and I don't believe the GPL version offers  
> encryption.

There have since been enhancements to the (open) protocol that add 
encryption, and anyone worried about this could just SSH into the DRAC 
and port forward VNC over the secure connection.  This might be fiddly 
to set up if you've never done it before, but still much easier than 
trying to get it working through a browser.

> One might conjecture that this DRAC incompatibility may be related to  
> this.

It seems funny that they'd put so much effort into the custom plugins 
when (IMHO) it would be far easier to automate the SSH port forward and 
load a free VNC client.  Cross-platform support can't be the reason for 
putting it inside a web browser, given the limited platforms it actually 
works on.  The ability to use it from anywhere in the world in an 
emergency (e.g. from an Internet cafe) can't be why either, because they 
wouldn't allow you to install all the weird Dell plugins there...

I guess Dell just wanted to make it difficult for us all ;-)

I really hope they release the rest of the DRAC firmware soon, because 
putting a proper VNC server on it is something I really want to do...we 
paid for the device so the least we should be able to do is actually use it!


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