I'm building a home media server for storing and streaming photos, video and music to other devices on my home network (and maybe hosting a few personal websites). I've bought the kit, assembled it, installed Ubuntu 12.10 and successfully VNC'd from my Ubuntu 12.04 laptop to the server over my home network, when I've got it hooked up to my HDMI TV.
However, when it's not hooked up to the TV, (but then I plug in the HDMI cable) it appears it boots into low graphics mode and won't auto login.
I've read various posts about resolving this issue, but I wasn't sure whether they applied to my kit. I have no graphics card, but the CPU (Intel Core i5 3570k) has on board graphics (I got this since the videos I'll be streaming will need transcoding on the fly), so does that mean it's not truly 'headless' when I have no monitor attached?
The other thing I'd like to do is VNC from other known devices, including Windows 7 machine from work, so I'd like to do this via keys rather than passwords, to make it secure, but also convenient.
What I'm not sure about is whether I need to create the /etc/X11/xorg.conf file as has been suggested in various places, or whether that's just for truly headless systems without a GPU. If it is required, what settings should I use? Does it matter?
And also, if I use something like vnc4server, is the X11 hack above required at all? I'm guessing it is as it wouldn't boot would it?
Or, if instead of 12.10 desktop, would the server edition, be a better option? Does the server edition not require a monitor to be attached, but can one be in case I need to? Can you still use VNC and see gnome etc on the server edition?
I've limited experience with Linux/Ubuntu, so any assistance will be greatly appreciated.