> But I do want to nip this whole "RDP" thing right in the bud. Remote desktops are NOT WHAT WE WANT (well I'm sure some do, but many don't).
I think you are seriously overestimating how many people want your use case (remote application) vs those who want remote desktop.
I very much DO want remote desktop. I want to be able to connect to all already my running apps on my desktop. I often have existing shells, Eclipse, Firefox, documents, PDFs, etc, that I want to view. And I frequently want to do this from lab machines, conference room machines, other developers PCs, etc. While I use Emacs extensively, very few other applications I use can fire up new windows like it can. Can Firefox do this? Eclipse? OpenOffice? Yes, I can figure up new instances of those apps, but that's wasteful, and some may not behave well or be able to access a file already opened by another instance.
I do not think I am alone in this. And I expect the vast majority of people will expect that same behavior, for the reasons I outline above, and because, for better or worse, that's how Windows generally does it.
In any case, Wayland will clearly allow for both use cases. I personally hope that they figure out way to make remote desktop perform reasonably. I've been trying to use x11vnc (and other versions) on my server for several years now, but performance has always been poor, even on my wifi.