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Ubuntu 9.04 remote desktop using vncserver without monitor

Only few more days for Ubuntu team to release 9.04 but I couldn’t wait so I downloaded RC version and installed on torrent download server 😉 . The task is to install the ubuntu 9.04 RC and to completely manage the server remotely. The installation was completely smooth and there was no issues. The installation completely detected all the hardware and everything worked perfectly like a dream come true.

Next step is to install secure shell ssh.

#sudo apt-get install ssh

Ubuntu comes with remote desktop manager. I tested the same and it would not work when there is no monitor connected to the system. I tried different methods and nothing worked out for me. So I decided to ditch the built in remote desktop and installed vncserver.

#sudo apt-get install vnc4server

After it is installed you should be logged as normal user and not root.

#vncserver :1 -geometry 1024x768 -depth 16

Once you issue the above command it will prompt for password. This password will be used for connecting to the server. Once it is complete we can change the setting for the server. Before we do that we have to kill the server.

#vncserver -kill :1

The configuration is kept in the file /home/userxx/.vnc/xstartup I edited this file so that I can start the server with gnome. My file looks exactly like below.


# Uncomment the following two lines for normal desktop:
# exec /etc/X11/xinit/xinitrc

gnome-session &

[ -x /etc/vnc/xstartup ] && exec /etc/vnc/xstartup
[ -r $HOME/.Xresources ] && xrdb $HOME/.Xresources
xsetroot -solid grey
vncconfig -iconic &
# xterm -geometry 80x24+10+10 -ls -title "$VNCDESKTOP Desktop" &
twm &

Now everything is done. All you have to do is to restart the system which is good for the setting to work properly. One you have restarted please start the vnc server.


I used chicken of the vnc to connect from mac.
After connecting you get gnome session which you can keep it alive even if the chicken vnc is closed.
Now all set and I don’t want my server to start gnome session during boot. To avoid that I have to disable gdm server.
That’s all folks have a nice day 😉

Update: Amy Rinehart from has done a great comparison chart for remote desktop softwares.

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