Friday Jul 04, 2008

A Simple VNC Server and GDM Configuration Example for OpenSolaris 2008.05

My requirement was to be able to connect my VNC client to a system running OpenSolaris 2008.05 and to be able to login as root. I have now done this successfully on a  system running the original OpenSolaris 2008.05 binary distribution and on a system running OpenSolaris 2008.05 after I ran a full image update to snv_91.

Update September 19th 2008: This procedure does not work if you have updated the image to snv_97 but does work if you update the image to snv_98. The upgrade from snv_97 to snv_98 wiped out the entries I had made in /etc/X11/gdm/custom.conf so I had to make those again. I have added an extra step at the end, based on Chris Drake's comments, to make the VNS server session persist if you exit the client.

1. Check that the VNC Server is Installed

This should be present as it is part of the 2008.05 binary distribution, but I checked anyway.

# pkg info SUNWxvnc
          Name: SUNWxvnc
       Summary: X11/VNC server
         State: Installed
     Authority: opensolaris.org (preferred)
       Version: 4.1.2
 Build Release: 5.11
        Branch: 0.91
Packaging Date: Fri Jun 13 17:49:25 2008
          Size: 6.3 MB
          FMRI: pkg:/SUNWxvnc@4.1.2,5.11-0.91:20080613T174925Z

2. Add this line to /etc/services

vnc-server      5900/tcp                        # Xvnc

3. Edit /etc/X11/gdm/custom.conf as below

[xdmcp]
Enable=true
[security]
DisallowTCP=false
AllowRoot=true
AllowRemoteRoot=true

4. Enable the Services

# svcadm enable xvnc-inetd
# svcs xvnc-inetd
STATE          STIME    FMRI
online         16:22:30 svc:/application/x11/xvnc-inetd:default
# svcadm enable gdm
# svcs gdm
STATE          STIME    FMRI
online         14:43:13 svc:/application/graphical-login/gdm:default

5. Connect to the Display with a VNC Client

You should now be able to connect to <hostname>:5900 and you should see the gdm login screen.

If you cannot connect, try stopping & starting the services:

# svcadm disable xvnc-inetd gdm
# svcadm enable xvnc-inetd gdm

6. Making the Session Persist

This may or may not be desirable for you, but if you want the VNC session to persist if you exit the VNC client then do the following:

# svccfg -s xvnc-inetd

svc:/application/x11/xvnc-inetd> editprop

This take you into a vi session. Look for the line...

#setprop inetd/wait = boolean: false

Copy the line, uncomment it and set it to true. Save the file, exit svccfg and run the command...

# svcadm refresh xvnc-inetd

Connect again with you VNC client. Now, when you exit/kill the VNC client, the session on the server will persist and you will be able to connect to it again.

You may now want to add an extra level of security to enable password protection on your VNC server. That is something that I have been unable to make work...and from searching around, it seems that others have a similar problem.

References: 1, 2

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Tim Thomas

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