Cloud Desktop


Having a persistent cloud environment means no more standby or shutting when you’re moving or leaving the computer. Leveraging cloud computing, it could be as cheap to run or as powerful as you want configure it.

Install Gnome

Install Gnome desktop on the server:
sudo apt install --no-install-recommends ubuntu-desktop gnome-panel gnome-settings-daemon metacity nautilus gnome-terminal gnome

If asked, use the maintainers version of configuration file.
Install VNCsudo apt install vnc4server

Create user because you don’t want to run it as root:
sudo adduser -m danny
From this point forward, everything will be done under this account unless otherwise stated.

Make user’s default shell to bash:
usermod -s /bin/bash

Give user super user access:
usermod -aG sudo danny
Setup VNCStart the vnc server:
vncserver :1
This will create the necessary configuration files needed to run.

Stop the server:
vncserver -kill :1

Amend the following lines so that VNC session will start gnome in ~/.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" &
x-window-manager &

gnome-panel &
gnome-settings-daemon &
gnome-session &
metacity &
nautilus &
Start VNC on BootEdit cron to start VNC server when the server starts up:
@reboot /usr/bin/vncserver -depth 24 -geometry 1600x1200 -randr :1

Accessing Cloud Desktop

Download a VNC client / viewer such as RealVNC. Enter the IP address and press connect. If it was successful connecting to the server, it will prompt for a password.

Optional Enhancements

Beyond the above steps there are additional settings and setup could be done to make it easier. These go beyond this article but worth looking up and may depend on your hosting provider.


Having a persistent desktop or VDI setup is possible and in a corporate world, a Citrix environment is fairly typical technology to use for this sort of thing. As a home user this would be cheap enough to try out but you would need to factor in hardware to access the virtual environment.

Install VNC on Ubuntu 16.04

How to Install and Configure VNC on Ubuntu 16.04

Changing the resolution of a VNC session in linux

About Danny

I.T software professional always studying and applying the knowledge gained and one way of doing this is to blog. Danny also has participates in a part time project called Energy@Home [] for monitoring energy usage on a premise. Dedicated to I.T since studying pure Information Technology since the age of 16, Danny Tsang working in the field that he has aimed for since leaving school. View all posts by Danny → This entry was posted in Linux and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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