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A Quick HowTo on x11vnc

A quick follow-up to the last post...

So you're stuck somewhere and badly need to help your dad with something on the computer at home. I've been in this situation quite a bit and well, I've usually ended up trying to troubleshoot over the phone with minimal success. Enter x11vnc. Here's a quick guide on getting it working on Gentoo.

remote denotes the box I'm using to reach my desktop on the machine home.

  1. emerge x11vnc tightvnc. Substituting tightvnc with vnc will do as well, but I like some security, which is made slightly easier using tightvnc.

  2. Run vncpasswd in your home directory. This creates a /home/shyam/.vnc/passwd and you will have to enter a password not longer than 8 characters in length, which I found a little surprising. Oh well.
  3. On home, run x11vnc -rfbauth /home/shyam/.vnc/passwd -display :0. Adjust display as required (0 or 1..)

  4. From remote run vncviewer home and enter the password you setup when prompted. Voila, you're in and seeing the desktop now.

A couple of points:

  • For VNC to work correctly, home has to have the X Display active. From what I've seen, when I vnc into home with X running but I'm on the console, the vnc display is all distorted.

  • By default, VNC traffic is not secure. It is advisable to tunnel it over ssh if you're using it from an insecure network/across the internet. With tightvnc it becomes very simple. All you need to do is vncviewer -via remote home and tightvnc sets up the ssh tunnel automatically.

Missed Barcamp, but had a relaxing weekend for the most part. Schumi showed Alonso who the boss is and I'm extremely happy for him :)


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 24th, 2006 07:27 am (UTC)
haha i used x11vnc alllll the damn time :D
i thought i was the only person on the face of this planet who did
guess not :)
Apr. 24th, 2006 07:38 am (UTC)
Yeah, now you've got company ;)
Apr. 28th, 2006 04:15 am (UTC)
I find the display over vnc extremely slow. There seems to be atleast a 10 sec delay before my interaction is actually visible. Both machines are part of the same LAN.

I installed vnc as server on gentoo following your instructions and used a vnc client for Mac. Haven't tried using it linux-linux yet, but I am unsure if there would be a performance difference.

Any ideas on how to speed it up?
Apr. 28th, 2006 04:29 am (UTC)
Check out the mac client options for "encoding" & "compression". This basically tries to reduce the amount of data that needs to be transferred over the network by compressing the same..and should make it faster.

I have no issues over the LAN, but I'm using tightvnc..and that handles compression quite well. In fact I see minimal lag when I use it over the internet as well.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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