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Running VNC Server as a Service on Ubuntu

Method 1: VNC Server as a Service on Ubuntu desktop similar to Redhat sysconfig

sudo apt-get install vncserver
sudo mkdir -p /etc/sysconfig
sudo touch /etc/sysconfig/vncservers
sudo vi /etc/sysconfig/vncservers
# Add following VNC Server instances where username and arguments are defined for each session.
VNCSERVERS="1:user1 2:user2 3:user3"
VNCSERVERARGS[1]="-geometry 1280x992 -depth 16"
VNCSERVERARGS[2]="-geometry 800x600 -depth 8"
VNCSERVERARGS[3]="-geometry 980x720"

sudo vi /etc/init.d/vncserver
# Add below to the service script
# chkconfig: - 91 35
# description: Starts and stops vncserver. \
# used to provide remote X administration services.

# Source function library.
# . /etc/init.d/functions

# Source networking configuration.
# . /etc/sysconfig/network

# Check that networking is up.
# [ ${NETWORKING} = "no" ] && exit 0

[ -f /etc/sysconfig/vncservers ] && . /etc/sysconfig/vncservers

prog=$"VNC server"

start() {
echo -n $"Starting $prog: "
ulimit -S -c 0 >/dev/null 2>&1
for display in ${VNCSERVERS}
export USER="${display##*:}"
if test -z "${REQ_USER}" -o "${REQ_USER}" == ${USER} ; then
echo -n "${display} "
su ${USER} -c "cd ~${USER} && [ -f .vnc/passwd ] && vncserver :${DISP} ${VNCUSERARGS}"

stop() {
echo -n $"Shutting down $prog: "
for display in ${VNCSERVERS}
export USER="${display##*:}"
if test -z "${REQ_USER}" -o "${REQ_USER}" == ${USER} ; then
echo -n "${display} "
export USER="${display##*:}"
su ${USER} -c "vncserver -kill :${display%%:*}" >/dev/null 2>&1
echo -e "\n"
echo "Vncserver Stopped"

# See how we were called.
case "$1" in
start $@
stop $@
stop $@
sleep 3
start $@
if [ -f /var/lock/subsys/vncserver ]; then
stop $@
sleep 3
start $@
status Xvnc
echo $"Usage: $0 {start|stop|restart|condrestart|status}"
exit 1
# End of vncserver service script

# Make script executable
sudo chmod a+x /etc/init.d/vncserver

# Make script run with default runlevels
sudo update-rc.d vncserver defaults

# You can also install Redhat style chkconfig using
sudo apt-get install chkconfig

# Use below to list service startup statuses
chkconfig --list
service --status-all

# Start and stop service manually
/etc/init.d/vncserver stop
/etc/init.d/vncserver start
service vncserver stop
service vncserver start

Method 2 - using Ubuntu/ Debian style Upstart that replaced inittab
After you have installed VNC Server, a Window Manager and configured it do following.

For each of the user or service define similar to following
username@servername:/etc/init$ cat /etc/init/vnc1.conf
description "my VNC Server number 1"

#start on runlevel [2345]
#stop on runlevel [016]

start on (starting network-interface or starting network-manager or starting networking)
stop on runlevel [!023456]


env USER="username"
export USER
env DISPLAY="1"
env DEPTH="16"
env GEOMETRY="1280x730"
env NAME="mY-VNC-Server"
env OPTIONS="-name ${NAME} -depth ${DEPTH} -geometry ${GEOMETRY} :${DISPLAY}"

pre-start script
   . /lib/lsb/init-functions

   log_action_begin_msg "Starting vncserver for user '${USER}' on localhost:${DISPLAY}"
   su ${USER} -c "/usr/bin/vncserver ${OPTIONS}"
end script

post-stop script
       . /lib/lsb/init-functions

   log_action_begin_msg "Stoping vncserver for user '${USER}' on localhost:${DISPLAY}"
   su ${USER} -c "/usr/bin/vncserver -kill :${DISPLAY}"
end script

Run below command to register new processes to start on boot.
sudo initctl reload-configuration

How to restart VNC Upstart Service
sudo initctl start vncserve
sudo initctl stop vncserve

Method 3 (old): A single vnc server using service written a while ago - superseded by Method 2
sudo apt-get install vnc4server fluxbox

cat /home/username/.vnc/xstartup

# Uncomment the following two lines for normal desktop:
# exec /etc/X11/xinit/xinitrc

[ -x /etc/vnc/xstartup ] && exec /etc/vnc/xstartup
[ -r $HOME/.Xresources ] && xrdb $HOME/.Xresources
xsetroot -solid grey
vncconfig -iconic &
x-terminal-emulator -geometry 80x24+10+10 -ls -title "$VNCDESKTOP Desktop" &
fluxbox &
# x-window-manager &


username@servername:/etc/init.d$ cat /etc/init.d/vncserve
#!/bin/sh -e
# Provides:          vncserver
# Required-Start:    networking
# Default-Start:     3 4 5
# Default-Stop:      0 6


# The Username:Group that will run VNC
export USER="username"

# The display that VNC will use

# Color depth (between 8 and 32)

# The Desktop geometry to use.


# The name that the VNC Desktop will have.

OPTIONS="-name ${NAME} -depth ${DEPTH} -geometry ${GEOMETRY} :${DISPLAY}"

. /lib/lsb/init-functions

case "$1" in
log_action_begin_msg "Starting vncserver for user '${USER}' on localhost:${DISPLAY}"
su ${USER} -c "/usr/bin/vncserver ${OPTIONS}"

log_action_begin_msg "Stoping vncserver for user '${USER}' on localhost:${DISPLAY}"
su ${USER} -c "/usr/bin/vncserver -kill :${DISPLAY}"

$0 stop
$0 start
exit 0

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