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I am just starting out with Linux, purchased a VPS and would like to install a minimal desktop so I can open a remote desktop connection via TightVNC, how do I go about it?

This is the VPS I Have: 256 MB RAM 500 GB BW 10 GB HDD 1 IP

With Ubuntu server 10.10 installed (32 bit)

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migrated from May 31 '11 at 7:12

This question came from our site for system and network administrators.

We'd have to know more about your the VPS service you purchased: how much RAM and disk space it comes with; which version of Ubuntu; whether you can install your own Linux or if you have to use one of their "canned" versions. – Barry Brown May 30 '11 at 23:03

See my comment above. But an alternative would be to:

  • Run an X Windows server on your local machine (Windows, Mac, Linux, whatever).
  • Use SSH to tunnel X Windows data from the VPS machine to your local machine.
  • Launch just the apps you need on the VPS machine and have them display their output to your local machine.

This will use far less RAM since you won't have to be running a full desktop environment on the VPS machine.

Here's how I do it on my Mac:

  1. Launch X11 (in the Utilities folder). This will automatically open up an xterm, the X equivalent to Terminal.
  2. Use ssh to open a connection to the VPS machine. The -X option will tell it to forward X data packets to your local machine. The optional -C will tell it to compress data packets which may or may not work out to your benefit. ssh -X -C
  3. You will now be looking at the shell prompt on the remote machine. Launch whatever app you need, such as firefox. The display will appear on your own machine.
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Just create a large swap file like this and you should be able to run full normal X no problem. Give yourself like a 1GB file

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You can use FreeNX on the VPS and NX Client on the Windows/Linux/Mapple PC that you have at home/work.

The great thing about the FreeNX solution is that you can pick up your desktop from any machine without having to shutdown and restart your session.

Depending on how your VPS is setup you may want to check the session is not using too many resources. Personally I run Gnome without too many desktop effects or the browser (I can run that on my own client machine) and I haven't had any problems.

Google 'FreeNX headless' for your chosen distro, sometimes you need to install a virtual frame buffer (XVFRB) here is what you need for Ubuntu FreeNX:


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