Setting up VNC on linux is surprisingly hard. Linod helped me figure this all out. Here is the story…
Server Side – x11vnc
A recommended article is from the folks that host linux virtual machines, linode. Their piece is what finally got me going. I tried x11vnc, and an excellent video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rFp6J7hWkCQ by Linux Unleashed, but the executable file was not where it would be if you were running Ubuntu 16.04 (or so I think). So when I invoked the command line from the video, to start the x11vnc server, the command failed because x11vnc was not where the file located pointed to (the setup was for Mint).
The configuration is so complicated for the command line on x11vnc that I quickly searched for a better way.
Server Side – vncserver
The promised land was in this piece: https://linode.com/docs/applications/remote-desktop/install-vnc-on-ubuntu-16-04/ This very helpful web site was for Ubuntu 16.04 and was detailed and accurate.
Client Side – vnc viewer (windows)
vnc viewer was the program that got me going because I was finally able to connect to the linux server. This enhansed my understanding so I was able to get the tablet going.
Client Side – truvnc (fire)
I was running truvnc on a Amazon Fire tablet, and also realized that you needed to put in the full port number, eg: x.xx.xx.xxx:5901; unlike the desktop that I was running (VNC Viewer) where you could truncate the port (it was assumed).
I ran into the common ‘gray screen’ but was able to fix that by modifying the xstartup file per the instructions in the linod site mentioned above. This was important. The startup script looks like:
- It is very useful to have two parallel experiments running – using two different clients (and two servers) were finally able to get the job done.
- Follow instructions for linux EXACTLY. It is very fiddly and there is no margin for error.
- Linux distributions vary dramatically in almost all ways, so be very careful to understand what is really going on, and not blindly type in commands.
In the end, all good… but it took a long time (Friday evening) to get it going.