The objective is to configure a basic client/server VNC setup on Debian 9 Stretch Linux

Operating System and Software Versions

  • Operating System: - Debian 9 Stretch Linux
  • Software: - vnc4server 4.1.1


Privileged access to access do your Debian system may be required to install VNC server and client packages. Fully functional and configured X server.




  • # - requires given linux commands to be executed with root privileges either directly as a root user or by use of sudo command
  • $ - requires given linux commands to be executed as a regular non-privileged user



VNC server Installation

Let's begin by installation the actual VNC server package vnc4server:
# apt install vnc4server

Set VNC password

Next, we are going to set a VNC password for a user which will eventually create a VNC connection from a remote client. Login as you user using su and set a new password. In the example below we will set a new vnc password for linuxconfig user:
# su linuxconfig
$ vncpasswd 
Would you like to enter a view-only password (y/n)? n

Create xstartup script

Depending on your system configuration VNC might start your default windows manager. This behavior can be overridden by ~/.vnc/xstartup script. If the ~/.vnc/xstartup does not exits create it and inlcude the following content to start xterm:
$ cat ~/.vnc/xstartup 

xterm &

Subscribe to our NEWSLETTER and receive latest Linux news, jobs, career advice and tutorials.

Start VNC session

Still as a regular user start a new VNC server session. Feel free to change below command's parameters to suit your needs:
$ vncserver -localhost no -geometry 800x600 -depth 24
New 'linuxconfig:1 (linuxconfig)' desktop at :1 on machine linuxconfig

Starting applications specified in /etc/X11/Xvnc-session
Log file is /home/linuxconfig/.vnc/linuxconfig:1.log

Use xtigervncviewer -SecurityTypes VncAuth,TLSVnc -passwd /home/linuxconfig/.vnc/passwd linuxconfig:1 to connect to the VNC server.
Note, omitting -localhost no option will cause VNC server to listen only on a localhost's loopback interface, hence any attempt to connect from a remote location will result in error message:
unable connect to socket: Connection refused (111)

Confirm VNC Session

Confirm that new VNC session started correctly:
$ vncserver -list

TigerVNC server sessions:

:1              2776
Alternatively, you should also see open VNC ports when running ss command:
$ ss -ltp | grep vnc
LISTEN     0      5          *:5901                     *:*                     users:(("Xtigervnc",pid=2776,fd=7))
LISTEN     0      5         :::5901                    :::*                     users:(("Xtigervnc",pid=2776,fd=8))


On your remote client first install VNC viewer package:
# apt install xvnc4viewer
All what remains is to connect using xvncviewer command. Based on the above vncserver -list output our VNC session is listening on :1 desktop. We use this information with a combination of server's IP address eg. to establish a new remote VNC connection:
$ xvncviewer
TigerVNC Viewer 64-bit v1.7.0
Built on: 2017-04-09 14:55
Copyright (C) 1999-2016 TigerVNC Team and many others (see README.txt)
See http://www.tigervnc.org for information on TigerVNC.

Wed May 31 15:53:28 2017
 DecodeManager: Detected 8 CPU core(s)
 DecodeManager: Creating 4 decoder thread(s)
 CConn:       connected to host port 5901
 CConnection: Server supports RFB protocol version 3.8
 CConnection: Using RFB protocol version 3.8
 CConnection: Choosing security type VeNCrypt(19)
 CVeNCrypt:   Choosing security type VncAuth (2)

Wed May 31 15:53:33 2017
 X11PixelBuffer: Using default colormap and visual, TrueColor, depth 24.
 CConn:       Using pixel format depth 24 (32bpp) little-endian rgb888
 CConn:       Using Tight encoding
 CConn:       Enabling continuous updates
Connected to vnc VNC session


Restart your VNC server session

The easiest way to restart your VNC server session is to kill the current session:
$ vncserver -list

TigerVNC server sessions:

:1              3081
with -kill option:
$ vncserver -kill :1
Killing Xtigervnc process ID 3081... success!
and start new session as described above.
FIND LATEST LINUX JOBS on LinuxCareers.com
Submit your RESUME, create a JOB ALERT.
Subscribe to NEWSLETTER and receive latest news, jobs, career advice and tutorials.
Get extra help by visiting our LINUX FORUM or simply use comments below.

Comments and Discussions
Linux Forum