Is anyone having problems setting up vncserver with xstartup file to support Unity when remotely connecting over VNC? I read numerous articles on setting up vncserver on 16.04 but all does not work with Unity hence I need to install gnome-panel, gnome-settings-daemon, metacity, nautilus, and gnome-terminal and add couple of lines for the xstartup to get the the VNC working for Gnome classic and not Unity.

Why Unity has no support for VNC?

Any ideas? And if anyone successfully got VNC to remotely connect to the fully Unity desktop on 16.04 please share the setup.

I don't want to use Vino, I need to have multiple sessions over VNC for other users.

  • Not sure what you want to do. I use x11vnc as a server and vinagre as a client on ubuntu/raspbian and it works fine.
    – user12753
    Jan 18, 2017 at 9:16
  • I have tried several vncservers and xstartup configuration in order to remotely connect with fully working Unity default desktop for Ubuntu 16.04 with no success. I usually setup a vncsession and on Windows I connect with Vncviewer on earlier Ubuntus but on 16.04 it doesn't display the full Unity.
    – LebLinux
    Jan 18, 2017 at 9:17
  • @LebLinux Did you manage to find a solution? I have the same issue. vnc doesn't display the full Unity desktop. I have tried a number of vnc servers and different desktop. None work perfectly. Feb 21, 2017 at 13:56
  • Forget Unity and install LXDE, there is no reliable solution to this problem...
    – LebLinux
    Jun 6, 2017 at 7:40

3 Answers 3


Ubuntu 16.04 has a default VNC server VINO and VINO runs with Unity without problems.

Learn more at https://help.ubuntu.com/community/VNC/Servers

  • 2
    Thanks for the answer! But the OP said "I dont want to use Vino, I need to have multiple sessions over vnc for other users." Jun 9, 2017 at 13:19
  • Vino is not managable like VNC
    – LebLinux
    Jun 9, 2017 at 15:27

in ~/.vnc/xstartup

[ -x /etc/vnc/xstartup ] && exec /etc/vnc/xstartup
[ -r $HOME/.Xresources ] && xrdb $HOME/.Xresources
xsetroot -solid grey
vncconfig -nowin &
gnome-session &
/usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/unity/unity-panel-service &
unity-settings-daemon &
unity &

I combined info from the following posts to get a working session.

The 2nd is about enabling RDP access, but the sample .xsession made me realize what was missing from the .xstartup samples from other posts. Namely getting the panel service and settings daemon going.



Since I use a VPN I didn't bother with security beyond VNCAuth.

Here's the GNOME clause I ended up with in my .xstartup.

            gnome-session --session=ubuntu &
            /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/unity/unity-panel-service &
            /usr/lib/unity-settings-daemon/unity-settings-daemon &

            for indicator in /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/indicator-*; do
              basename=`basename ${indicator}`
              dirname=`dirname ${indicator}`
              ${service} &


I did notice the screen saver and nautilus blew chunks when I resized my display, but I can live with that.

  • This answer is about gnome, while the original question was about Unity. Jun 11, 2019 at 10:55

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