VNC is an acronym for Virtual Network Computing.
More specifically VNC refers to a specific type of communications protocol that allows the desktop of one computer to be used from another. It’s very similar in concept to Remote Desktop Protocol, the protocol used by Windows for this same purpose.
In computing, Virtual Network Computing (VNC) is a graphical desktop-sharing system that uses the Remote Frame Buffer protocol (RFB) to remotely control another computer. It transmits the keyboard and mouse input from one computer to another, relaying the graphical-screen updates, over a network.
VNC is platform-independent – there are clients and servers for many GUI-based operating systems and for Java. Multiple clients may connect to a VNC server at the same time. Popular uses for this technology include remote technical support and accessing files on one's work computer from one's home computer, or vice versa.
VNC was originally developed at the Olivetti & Oracle Research Lab in Cambridge, United Kingdom. The original VNC source code and many modern derivatives are open source under the GNU General Public License.
There are a number of variants of VNC which offer their own particular functionality; e.g., some optimised for Microsoft Windows, or offering file transfer (not part of VNC proper), etc. Many are compatible (without their added features) with VNC proper in the sense that a viewer of one flavour can connect with a server of another; others are based on VNC code but not compatible with standard VNC.