Now I have set up vnc on Xubuntu before, so why should it be so difficult this time? As before my guide was the extensive ubuntu forums thread. The thread has grown since I last looked and few new gotchas have emerged–although to be honest they are more figments of my imagination rather than real issues. The following are observations on what I learned (and in some cases “mis-learned”) from the thread.
One of the things that threw me were the references to vnc4server not working properly on 7.1 AMD64. My experience is that, if you get everything else right, the default vnc4server packages work fine.
Another thing that held me back was not being able to test the vnc installation with the local viewer. This made me think that it was not working when (perhaps) it was.
Checking the actual location of the fonts directories is something that carries over from the last experience, although I don’t think the location has changed since the last version.
The issue that had me foxed for the longest was the server_args string in /etc/xinted.d/Xvnc. While I was experimenting with tightvncserver and launching vncserver from the command line the option “-query localhost” had got lost form the string. As a result the vncviewer showed the X-windows grey screen, but no login page. A number of people had observered this problem in the thread, but nobody had been stupid enough to cause it by messing up the command to launch the server.
Along with several people who have commented on the thread, there were a number of times I had to wonder why I was struggling so hard to set up what should be a pretty simple vnc server. Other options are discussed in the thread, and I also have another ubuntu workstation that uses NoMachine NX for remote administration. But the main thing with vnc is that you get the option to power off and restart the machine. As the server runs “headless,” i.e. no screen, this is vital. I could certainly administer it through a terminal interface using SSH, but if I am going to have graphical remote access it might as well let me do everything I need to do.