Easiest way to set up an RDP-like VNC server?

I was wondering if anyone knew of any guides for an easy way to set up a VNC server that is very similar to the way RDP works in Windows. Something I could access over a local network when needed. Thanks!

Hey man, I prefer to use TigerVNC on Centos myself (linked below). I have set up quite a few of the VNC offerings out there, and TigerVNC is the least aids to configure. If you don't know, VNC is basically a comparable service to Microsoft's RDP.

The guide from the Centos wiki: http://wiki.centos.org/HowTos/VNC-Server

I'll maybe give that a try then. I should also mention that I need this to work on a headless server, so that probably just means configuring a virtual screen in the xorg.config file. I knew VNC is basically RDP, but what I was hoping for was something as simple to set up as RDP. Its going over a local network, so encryption isn't needed, I also wanted it to start from boot. That way its as simple as connecting from another computer/ phone on the network to get full access to the machine, and hopefully not change the state when I disconnect. I have an idea of what I'm doing, but if there is an easier way i'm always after that. haha

You can run this in headless mode, you just need to have xorg and the GUI of your choice installed so that VNC can use it. VNC is a service just like MS Terminal Services (RDP), so as long as you configure it to, it will start on boot just fine. All you have to do is connect in with a client like RDP on windows or Remmina on linux and you'll be good to go.

I've found a guide here:

Should be almost the same for most major distros.
What you're doing is basically setting up an virtual X Server, that supports X as an output.
I'm not sure if this supports Gnome 3, since it seems to require at least basic hardware acceleration, so try XFCE or something if you can't get Gnome 3 to work.
Depending on what you want to do, it might be more useful to use X Forwarding, which enables you to just run a single application on the Linux machine, redirecting it's Screen output to a local X Server. This even works with windows, using the XMing X Server. I use it all the time coding! You should be in a LAN though, since it requires quite a bit bandwidth.

Preparation on the Host machine
Install an SSH Server using your favorite package manager
sudo apt-get install openssh-server
aptitude install openssh-server
(Or something like that, depending on your distro)

Linux <-> Linux:
ssh -X [target machine]
[start whatever GUI program you want]

Windows <-> Linux:
Install PuTTY, XMing
Start the programm called XLaunch, go with the default settings
In PuTTY, enter a name under "Saved Sessions", and go to: Connection -> SSH -> X11, and check "Enable X11 forwarding". The display location should be set to
In PuTTY, go back to Session, and save your current(Or redo all the steps all the time), and click "open"
Login as usual with SSH, start your program, enjoy.

If you need any help setting this up, just leave a reply, I'll answer ASAP
If this gets enough traction

Edit: Added Guide & Screenshot as an example

I really like the thought of this, but I need the whole desktop.

That guide you showed looks very similar to this one I found based around the Raspberry Pi.


This should work with some minor tweaks for a different environment (probably XFCE), but without the hassle of SSH tunneling. It's on a local network so security isn't something I want to deal with. The simplicity of booting the server up, waiting a few minutes, and then remoting in with VNC is what I'm after.

Thanks for the reply!

You can get the full desktop over X Forwarding:

You also can create a one-click shortcut on Windows to connect. If you have XMing installed, just write this to a .xlaunch file:

<?xml version="1.0"?>
<XLaunch xmlns="http://www.straightrunning.com/XmingNotes" xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance" xsi:schemaLocation="http://www.straightrunning.com/XmingNotes XLaunch.xsd" WindowMode="Windowed" ClientMode="StartProgram" Program="xfce4-session" ClientStart="PuTTY" Compress="true" RemoteHost="srv-debian" RemoteUser="max" Display="0" Clipboard="true" ExtraParams="-screen 0 1024 768"/>

You only would need to modify the Program-parameter,the RemoteHost-parameter, the RemoteUser-parameter and maybe the resolution at ExtraParams. If you do that, just double-click that file & enter your password.

If you still don't want to use SSH forwarding, you can follow the raspberry guide, and write this to a file in "~/.vnc/xstartup":

#!/bin/shxrdb $HOME/.Xresources
xfce4-session &

That should do the trick.