What steps do I need to follow if I want to use the Share Desktop feature with another user in Empathy?

I've already enabled the Remote Desktop option through System -> Preferences -> Remote Desktop and checked the service for this task is up, so I can't get what else I'd need.

By the way, I've tried using this feature with contacts using Empathy too.

  • 1
    What version of Ubuntu are you using?
    – Alex Launi
    Nov 2, 2010 at 23:16

3 Answers 3


This works in 11.04, 11.10 and 12.04 - however, the fix for 12.04 isn't in the main repositories yet, it should be there by the end of May however.

The "Share Desktop" feature of Empathy uses vino as a VNC server and vinagre as a VNC client by default. The feature also seems to be supported only with Jabber/XMPP protocol. I tested this on Ubuntu 12.04.1 (updated on October 2012) both 32 and 64 bit. "Share Desktop" works after installing the vinagre package (vino was there by default) and using a Jabber account.

You typically do not need to set up the share desktop feature before you use it. All you need is to make sure that the person on the other end is using Empathy an has "vinagre-preferences" running. Simply right click on the person's name and select "Share My Desktop..."

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You'll get this message while the other person gets a prompt.

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The other person will see something like this:

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When you're done there will be a final message to make sure the person is disconnected:

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If the menu entry is grayed out it means that either the other person doesn't have support for it or you might be using a protocol that doesn't support the feature.

  • Where can I find the information about having this work on 12.04. I have 12.04.1 and this fix is not implemented yet. Aug 28, 2012 at 5:26
  • Didn't you post another question about that bug a while back? Aug 28, 2012 at 14:14
  • Yes I posted a while back. Had to edit it since after around June it stopped working. Tested with 12.04.1 32 Bit and 64 Bit with no luck. Right now I am on a fresh 64 bit installation. It simply does not work either by your way posted here or by the one I posted in my question here: askubuntu.com/questions/68837/… Sep 13, 2012 at 3:53
  • That should probably be filed as a bug report instead! Sep 13, 2012 at 12:48

There is currently only one protocol-implementation in Telepathy (the library on which Empathy is built) that supports this: “gabble”, which implements XMPP (Jabber). Other protocols or other implementations of the XMPP-protocol, including local-XMPP (“People Nearby”), don't support it (yet).

So IF both you and the other person use XMPP with the Gabble plugin (the “Jabber” option in the Accounts dialog), it should work out of the box like Jorge explains.

Fortunately, it's easy & quick to set up a Jabber account; there are hundreds of servers that allow you to register an account from inside Empathy, or you can use your existing google account.

  • Excellent to know! Because I was trying with the MSN account.
    – Astiam
    Nov 3, 2010 at 23:40

Desktop sharing works with googletalk and Empathy on Ubuntu 12.04 LTS if you install vinagre...

$ sudo apt-get install vinagre

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