How To: Configure VNC Server

Vncserver is just another application available in almost all the available Linux based distros. Configuring vncserver is very easy. But the default desktop view in vncviewer is gray scale desktop with very pathetic GUI. To view normal Gnome or KDE desktop in vncviewer, assigning a custom port for usage, user configuration and to adjust the resolution of the vncviewer window, some files need to be configured properly. Here are the required configuration in any version of Fedora/Fedora Core. But with minor modifications these can be applied to other distros like Ubuntu, SuSE, Gentoo etc.

Step 1: Installing Vncviewer, Vncserver

As root do this

[root@bordeaux saini]# yum install vnc [Enter]

Step 2: Configuring resolution, port & user

The default location of server configuration file for vncserver is ‘/etc/sysconfig/’. To configure the resolution, user and port open ‘/etc/sysconfig/vncservers’ in you favorite editor and add two lines per user configuration shown ..

VNCSERVERS=":"
VNCSERVERARGS[]="-geometry x x"

Example :

VNCSERVERS="3:saini"
VNCSERVERARGS[3]="-geometry 1000x700"

You can choose any display port, but it should not be in use by another X server. Window height and width can be anything (not in fraction of course). But keep in mind that the system on which you are going to view the desktop using vncviewer should have greater resolution than what you specify here, otherwise scrollbars will appear.

Step 3: Configuring Desktop Environment

The user specific configuration files of vncviewer resides in ‘.vnc’ directory in user’s home directory. (e.g. ‘/home/saini/.vnc/’). Open ‘.vnc/xstartup’ in your favorite editor and edit as below

  • For Gnome

The ‘xstartup’ file shout look like this

#!/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 &
startx &
  • For KDE

The ‘xstartup’ file should look like this

#!/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 &
startkde &

Step 4: Configuring password

For setting up vncviewer password for user ‘xyz’, login as user ‘xyz’ and issue ‘vncpasswd’ command on a terminal/konsole (or whatever). Enter password twice and you are done with password setting.

Step 5: Starting Vncserver

To start vncserver, login as root and issue ‘service vncserver start’ command. If service started successfully, you are ready to use vncviewer on a remote/local machine.

Step 6: Accessing through Vncviewer

  • From Linux based machines
[saini@bordeaux saini]# vncviewer IP_Address:displayPort [Enter] #(IP Address is for the machine where you set up vncserver)
  • From Windows

On windows there is a software called RealVnc. Install it and enter <IPAddress>:<displayPort> in the dialog box.
[I explained how to connect via windows because it may help someone get a bit of relief.]

Screenshots:

  • Vncviewer with Gnome as Desktop environment

VNC Server VNC Viewer Screenshot GNOME

  • Vncviewer with KDE as Desktop environment

VNC Server VNC Viewer Screenshot KDE

Vnc is nice tool if you want to avoid using windows. I use it all the time. While I am forced to work on windows system, I install vncviewer and use it in full screen mode 😛 It also helps when you want to run some gui based application and monitor is remotely. Because if you close vncviewer window and use vncviewer again, you will be given the desktop session where you left it (all windows open and applications running).

 

Review: Fedora 8 – Warewolf

I installed Fedora 8 32 bit from a leaky mirror on Nov 7th and I just had a very bad experience with it. Nothing seemed to be working. But I can’t accept that. As I am a hardcore fan of Fedora, I just can’t sit back and say “ah, Fedora 8 sucks, i am not gonna use that”. I fetched Fedora 8 x86_64 (64bit) from a mirror yesterday, after the release. I installed it and everything worked out of the box. I can’t believe that I wrote something wrong about Fedora. How could I do that ?

First of all, I would like to say that The artwork team at Fedora has done a very fantastic job. The graphics right from installation up to the desktop are just awesome. Especially the default background is very nice. Here is shot of the default Gnome Fedora 8 Desktop.

GNOME Fedora 8 Desktop

Right after the installation, I fetched the nVidia proprietary drivers from here and installed them. And those were installed successfully without giving any errors or problems. [ If you want a complete howto on installing nvidia drivers. Its here.] A reboot after the installation and compiz worked out of the box. Here is shot.

Compiz Fusion

Ok, graphics done. What now ? I just realized that there is no mp3 support. No worries. Codeina aka Codec Buddy is there. Just issue ‘codeina’ command from command line and a window like this will appear.

Codeina Audio Codec Fetcher

Check Fluendo MP3 Audio Decoder and click get selected, accept the license conditions and you’ll see that codeina is fetching the codecs. [If codeina does not fetch codecs or give error like timeout or some other network error. Try checking your proxy setting in System -> Preferences -> Internet And Network -> Network Proxy . It may help. ]

Codeina Installing MP3 Support

Ok. Now, codeina has done the job. Lets play some mp3. Note that amarok still can’t play mp3 files because it uses xine engine. So, you can choose either Totem or Rhythmbox to play your mp3 files. Here is a shot of Rhythmbox. So, Codeina also works out of the box.

Rhythmbox Playing MP3

Another major improvement in Fedora 8 in audio section is introduction or pulseaudio. Issue command ‘pulseaudio’ from command line and you will see a window like this.

Pulseaudio Device and Application Control

You can control the sound stream from different players or whatever. You can mute individual streams and can even set the default devices for certain streams through this fantastic gui.

Another good thing in Fedora 8 is Eclipse. Eclipse 3.3 is back in Fedora 8. They excluded it from Fedora 7. I am happy to see it back here in Fedora 8.

Eclipse In Fedora 8

Another utility that I found helpful is Remote Desktop utility. Launch System -> Preferences -> Internet And Network -> Remote Desktop and you’ll see a window like this.

Remote Desktop Utility

Set your preferences and now you can browse your desktop from anywhere using ‘vncviewer <yourIP>:0′. Though one call always configure vncserver to get that done. But for newbies it’ll be a great help.

Also, My wireless lan card, Ralink rt2500 WNC-0301 is detected successfully in Fedora 8. But I am not sure whether it works or not, because there is not wifi environment in my lab and I can’t check it without that. [ Anyway if your wifi card doesn’t work, here is a howto on installing Ralink rt2500 WNC-0301 using drivers from serailmonkey. ]

Another improvement is that cursor was never invisible. Up to Fedora 7, I suffered cursor invisible problem on first login. [ If you are facing the same problem, add line

Options "HWCursor" off

to “screens” section in your /etc/X11/xorg.conf file and issue ‘gdm-restart’ command. It’ll be fine afterwards. ]

The boot time has also improved significantly. My Fedora 8 boots in just 45 seconds.

These Fedora 8 Screenshots and other related to Fedora 8 can be reached here.