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I'm really new to Ubuntu 12.04 and I've been trying to get remote desktop services between me and my server. I don't have any spare monitors, keyboards or mice. I did connect said items too the server and got teamviewer running and connected, but I can't use those components every time I want to go remote desktop. I have ssh but I want a GUI on hand for annoying stressful situations.

I read somewhere that ubuntu doesn't start a GUI if there is no monitor connected, and tried those xorg.conf setups to no avail. I believe this is the reason why my headless setup isn't working.

How can I get my GUI to startup while headless?

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2 Answers 2

If you want to use a nice and light desktop for just the remote sessions, I could recommend you xvnc + xfce or lxde.

sudo apt-get install xvnc xfce4

or

sudo apt-get install xvnc lxde-core

Then configure your desktop to start lxdm or lightdm to start at boot:

sudo vim /etc/default/ligthdm
## OR
sudo vim /etc/lxdm/lxdm.conf

Then configure your ssh + vnc tunneling using the fine answer provided by Oli, and you are all set.

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The only way there could be a GUI running in Ubuntu Server edition, is if you specifically install it. If not then there isn't one running.

What I do for remote situations is access a GUI system via TeamViewer and use it to SSH into the headless system. You could also just install a GUI on the server if the hardware isn't too old. Just remember to remove all the programs that you don't need. Also I wouldn't recommend installing a GUI on anything older than a Pentium 4 system.

There isn't enough resources there for it to run decently. You can install Ubuntu Desktop (GUI) with sudo apt-get install ubuntu-desktop. After that you can temporarily hook up a monitor/keyboard and install teamviewer. Make sure you add it to the list of startup programs.

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1  
The installation of ubuntu-desktop is completely overkill. He could just install gnome-core. –  Braiam Aug 16 '13 at 18:00

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