|This article does not cite any references or sources. (August 2009)|
The most common two scenarios for desktop sharing are:
- Remote log-in
- Real-time collaboration
Remote log-in allows users to connect to their own desktop while being physically away from their computer. Systems that support the X Window System, typically Unix-based ones, have this ability "built in". Windows versions starting from Windows 2000 have a built-in solution for remote access as well in the form of Remote Desktop Protocol and prior to that in the form of Microsoft’s NetMeeting.
The open source product VNC provides cross-platform solution for remote log-in.
The shortcoming of the above solutions are their inability to work outside of a single NAT environment. A number of commercial products overcome this restriction by tunneling the traffic through rendezvous servers.
Real-time collaboration is much a bigger area of desktop sharing use, and it has gained recent momentum as an important component of rich multimedia communications. Desktop sharing, when used in conjunction with other components of multimedia communications such as audio and video, creates the notion of virtual space where people can meet, socialize and work together. On the larger scale, this area is also referred as web conferencing.
Comparison of notable desktop sharing software 
|Application/tool||Cost||Screen sharing||Remote access||Instant messaging||Share control||Video conferencing||File transfer||Operating Systems Supported|
|IBM Lotus Sametime||$338.00 annual||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Windows, Linux, Mac|
|LogMeIn||Free version available||Yes||Yes||?||?||?||Yes||Windows, Mac, Smartphones|
|Mikogo||$19 - $25/month, free for non-commercial use||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||?||Yes||Windows, Mac, Linux, iPhone, iPad, Android|
|Nefsis||Free version available||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Windows, Linux|
|Netviewer||$39.90/month, free for non-commercial use||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Windows, Mac|
|Skype||Now part of Skype Premium||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||Yes||Windows, Mac, Linux|
|TeamViewer||$749 - $2,690, free for non-commercial use||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Windows, Mac, Linux, iPhone, Android|
|Techinline||$30/month, $20/5-session bundle||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||Windows|
|Webex||45 cents per minute/per user||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Windows, Linux, Mac, Unix, Solaris, iPhone|
|Yuuguu||$19/month||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Windows, Linux, Mac|