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User Tips and Tricks - How to remotely access your Linux display

How to remotely access your Linux display

Whether you’ve got one Display to manage or a hundred, in the same building or across the globe, there would inevitably be times when you need to remotely access your digital signage properties, without asking anybody else for help.

The following steps describe how to access your remote Ubuntu display from a Ubuntu PC. You could use similar setup to access a Windows display as well, if you can’t use LogMeIn.

Also, I am assuming that:

  • you have more control over your office/home router, than over the router your remote display is connected to, so you can set up port-forwarding on your router to forward TCP port 5500 (default for linux vnc) to your PC’s internal IP address.
  • the remote router allows inbound connections to the display on port 22 (ssh), and
  • the remote router does not block outbound connections from the display on port 5500 (vnc), so we would configure the remote display to initiate outbound connection to your PC, instead of the other way around.

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1. Install ssh and vnc servers on your display:

sudo apt-get install openssh-server x11vnc

2. Install vnc viewer on your local Ubuntu PC:

sudo apt-get install vncviewer

3. Set vncviewer to listen-mode on your pc:

vncviewer -listen 0

4. From another terminal window, ssh into your remote linux display and run the following command:

x11vnc -connect

(substitute with your own public IP address, found via, for example)

That is all you need to do, and you should immediately see the remote desktop displayed on your local linux pc!

Caveats and workarounds:

  • If the remote router blocks incoming TCP port 22, then configure your display to run sshd on a different port.
  • Without an additional flag to retry for n times, the outbound vnc server requests expire on the first failed attempt. So make sure to start your vnc viewer first, again, in Listen mode.
  • Make sure to run x11vnc -connect under the same account that you run rvplayer with. If you, like me, prefer to create a separate non-admin account to run rvplayer, but use the admin account to ssh into the display, you will pull all your hair out trying to figure out why the x11vnc -connect command keeps failing. ;)

I hope that helps, and if you have any questions, be sure to let us know in the forum. Thanks!

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