The PhoneBoy Blog

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Ubuntu Remote Desktop and VNC Not Working? Try This!

I recently installed Ubuntu 9.10 x64 on one of my workstations here at home. It has a fairly simple task, but the machine needs to be available over VNC.

Previously, I had used an older, headless box with Xubuntu to do the job and used a VNC server to set up a session I could connect to which ran the needed task. This time I tried to use the built-in Remote Desktop feature.

Unfortunately, I discovered a problem with this approach. The VNC client would connect ok and appear to take input from the remote client, but the screen would never update or refresh on the client correctly.

This appears to be a bug with the nvidia restricted drivers (which I am using) and the fancy graphic transitions. It apparently doesn’t “damage” the underlying X server, causing the VNC to never issue a screen refresh to the client. While this article describes it for 9.04, it applies for 9.10 as well. I simply turned off the visual effects as described in the article and my remote desktop started working correctly again! Yay!

The reason I wrote this article and posted it is because it took a while before I was able to find a solution for it. Google ultimatey found the answer after enough iterations of searching, but not everyone has that kind of patience. Hopefully, someone out there will find this article useful.

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