Faculty of Environment

Linux from VNC

You can start a virtual (VNC) session on a Linux system, then connect to that system from any remote computer. This allow you (for example) to start a full graphical session on a Linux server, then connect to that session from a Windows desktop on campus, or leave the session running, and connect to it from home.

All the Faculty Linux systems have VNC software installed, and you can start server sessions which are accessible remotely, or you can start viewer sessions which allow you to connect to another remote VNC session.

Starting a VNC server session

  1. Login to the Linux server you want to use (e.g. ssh foe-linux)
  2. Then run the command vncserver.
  3. The first time you run the vncserver command, it will ask for your password.
  4. Take a note of the server name and port number returned (e.g. foe-linux-04:2)

Ending a VNC server session

Note that once you've started a vncserver session, it will continue running in the background. If you run the vncserver command again, it will start a second session running in the background. You have to explicitly kill sessions using the following command (which has to be run on the server you originally ran the vncserver command on):

vncserver -kill :port

Where port is the port number which was returned by the original vncserver command.

Connecting to a VNC server session from campus

From a campus system, you can just run the vncserver command. It will prompt for the server name - you should supply the server and port exactly as returned from the vncserver command above.

Connecting to a VNC server session from home

You need the vncviewer software installed on your home computer. A free version of this can be downloaded at http://www.realvnc.com. You also need ssh software - a Windows version (putty) can be downloaded from http://www.chiark.greenend.org.uk/~sgtatham/putty/download.html.

The rest of these instructions assume you are connecting from a home Windows system.