How to Install a VNC Server in Ubuntu

By Kristen Waters

Virtual Network Computing (VNC) is a way to share the desktop of one computer (server) with a remote computer (client). The client's keyboard and mouse input are transmitted over a network and control the operation of the server. The server's graphics are transmitted back over the network. Except for some latency issues, it will appear as if you are working directly on the machine you are sitting at. However, all programs and commands are performed on the server side.

Step 1

Open a Terminal window. The Terminal window can be found under "Start" > "Utilities."

Step 2

Download vnc4server and xinetd: sudo apt-get install vnc4server xinetd

Step 3

Start the vnc4server: vnc4serverYou will be prompted for a password. This password will be used to log into the VNC session.After providing a password, you will get output that looks like:New 'laptop:3 (laptop)' desktop is laptop:3Take notice of the number after the colon (:), in this case it is "3."Starting the vnc4server will cause a .vnc directory to be placed in your home directory.

Step 4

Stop the vnc4server vnc4server -kill :3Replace the number "3" with the number from Step 3.

Step 5

Open the .vnc/xstartup file for editing: gedit ~/.vnc/xstartupThe file will look like:#!/bin/sh# Uncomment the following two lines for normal desktop:#unset SESSION_MANAGER#exec /etc/X11/xinit/xinitrc[ -x /etc/vnc/xstartup ] && exec /etc/vnc/xstartup[ -r $HOME/.Xresources ] && xrdb $HOME/.Xresourcesxsetroot -solid greyvncconfig -iconic &xterm -geometry 80x24+10+10 -ls -title "$VNCDESKTOP Desktop" &twm &

Step 6

Change the .vnc/xstartup file and save it.Uncomment the lines that start with unset and exec. Comment out the lines that start with xsetroot, vncconfig, xterm and twm.The final file should look like:#!/bin/sh# Uncomment the following two lines for normal desktop: unset SESSION_MANAGER exec /etc/X11/xinit/xinitrc[ -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 &

Step 7

Change the permissions on the /etc/X11/xinit/xinitrc file to make it executable: sudo chmod 755 /etc/X11/xinit/xinitrc

Step 8

Start the vnc4server: vnc4serverAgain, remember the number after the colon (:).

Step 9

Log into your remote desktop to check the configuration: vncviewer localhost:3Provide the password that you chose in Step 3.

References & Resources