I have laptop running Ubuntu 12.04 and I'm looking at a mini mac.
I would like to operate it remotely (it has no screen/keyboard/mouse of its own) but not through the internet. Could I connect the two locally through an ethernet cable and then control the mac from the laptop using some desktop sharing system like, say, VNC?
If anyone out there has any advice for doing this I would appreciate the help!
In general, Ethernet is the medium over which your relevant data is carried (there is a protocol for this that includes frames). You write a protocol that is carried over Ethernet and use that to communicate your data.
IP is a natural way to do this since most applications support this natively (it is the default in most cases). There is nothing preventing you from assigning IP addresses to these two machines and using teh VNC software over that. The most you may have to do is set up routing rules and assign a static IP address - neither of these things is terribly difficult.