I would like to install a full xfce4 desktop into my ubuntu 16 dedicated server.

I remember accessing the remote desktop with this command years ago:

ssh -v ip:port -L 5900:localhost:5900 "x11vnc -noxrecord -forever -noxfixes -noxdamage -scale 1024x768 -create -rfbauth $HOME/.vnc/passwd"

After that simply point a vnc client to localhost:5900 and get a working xfce desktop, no lightdm logins or anything.

Xfce desktop/session was not launched from a $HOME/.vnc/autostart script. I could leave programs/windows open, kill x11vnc from another ssh session and later execute again the x11vnc tunnel to localhost:5900. Reopening the remote desktop showed everything untouched, all windows/programs still open.

Sadly I dont remember anything else about that setup, if it had cronjobs or other tweaks.

Not sure what packages to install right now, as some websites recommend xfce4, others lighdm+xfce4, others xubuntu-desktop.

What ive tried so far: installing only xfce4, then only xubuntu-desktop, added

Xvfb :0 -nolisten tcp -screen 0 1024x768x16 & DISPLAY=:0 startxfce4 &

to user crontab (@reboot) and launching x11vnc from my laptop like this:

ssh -v ip:port -L 5900:localhost:5900 "x11vnc -noxrecord -forever -noxfixes -noxdamage -display :0 -rfbauth $HOME/.vnc/passwd"

This results in the xfce4 desktop opening up but with errors such as:

"Modifying the panel is not allowed: Because the panel is running in kiosk mode"

"no running instance of xfce4-panel was found"

and various broken things, i cant logout/reboot/shutdown from xfce desktop too, just hanging.

If i try the original x11vnc flags (with -create and without -display :0) I only get a black screen with a white terminal.

Could someone kind enough please suggest how to do this from a vanilla ubuntu server?

  • install xfce4 desktop (or lxde if it matters)
  • auto start it at boot without asking for login graphically
  • launch x11vnc on server from ssh command, with correct flags.

Would it be simply better to reinstall the os, using xubuntu and not ubuntu server? I tried, failed a lot, got very confused and feel like I need some help.

Thank you very much.


After more struggles i removed everything xfce related, went back to ubuntu server and got a working lxde desktop. Used this command:

sudo apt-get install lubuntu-desktop 

and added "exec startlxde" to ~/.xinitrc file.

After rebooting the server I can connect with x11vnc with the first command (-create flag) like i was doing years ago. The graphical desktop session does not start/stop with x11vnc but at system boot so everything left open on screen persists, if I close x11vnc and later reconnect.

Leaving this edit for others.

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