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this has been asked before but I dont see a response just yet. I was wondering if there is a way to remote desktop from my mac to Ubuntu 11.04 without logging in first? My ubuntu is set up as my media server, and occasionally I need to screen share. So far I am able to do it successfully from Apple Screen share IF my ubuntu user is logged in. However, if ubuntu is at the screen prompting username and password to login, screen share will not connect. I am able to login via terminal after I ssh, but it wont work unless the user is actually logged in. Any help would be appreciated, its annoying to keep connecting a monitor just to log in.

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I would probably install X2Go if what you really want is a remote desktop solution. This is a terminal server that will enable you to log onto the system whether or not the user is logged in. You will also be able to run a single application from the other machine. And it's much faster than VNC.

However, if your Ubuntu machine has a screen and you just want to control it using a laptop as a mouse and keyboard for it, then you want to use Synergy. This is available for Ubuntu, Windows and OS X and then the other computer simply acts as an external screen to the laptop.

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You need to make sure vino is loaded at startup, not just when your user logs in. Take a look at these instructions:

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