☁️ Installing GUI on Linux on the ☁️ Cloud

Paulo Bazzo

Installing GUI on Linux in the Cloud

We cloud computer we are able to create numerous services on the web at ease with only a fraction of the cost. Also, because cloud computer costs are only calculate when the computer is actually running, we can simply decommission the machine scale down the resources to help reduce cost and keep us within budget. Making use of this particular factor, bring great benefits to the deployment of your cloud solutions.

Cloud Configuration

We are going to have a quick look on how to set up a Linux system on the cloud. On this guide we are going to use the Cloud Provider Linode, which has great performance and great prices. Our computer will be running for the total cost of $5 p/month at the time of writing this article, so let’s crack on!

Software we need

  • Linode Account
  • Remote desktop client
  • mRemoteNG (Windows)
  • Remmina (Apple)
  • Set up Steps

    We are going to skip the deployment of the Linux machine on Linode and focus on the process of installing the required components on our Linux machine to establish a VNC (Virtual Network Connection) connection. VNC functions similarly to the Windows Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP.)

Connect over ssh

ssh root@

Update and Upgrade your linux

sudo apt-update && apt-upgrade

Install a gui flavor, we are going for ubuntu-mate on this tutorial

apt install ubuntu-mate-desktop

Install VNC Server

apt install tightvncserver

Start the VNC Server check its working Asking to create a password for the connection (it has maximum 8 characters and will truncate the password if password is longer).

vncserver :1

Stop vncserver

vncserver -kill :1

After running vnc server for the first time, it has created a folder on the directories “.vnc” We are going to update the xstartup script file that will run as soon as the vnc server launches.

Configure VNC Server

cd ./vnc
  mv xstartup xstartup-bup
  nano xstartup

Create the following inside the xstartup

  exec /usr/bin/mate-session &

Make new script executable

Chmod +x xstartup

Hardening Security

Create a lower privilege user

Its important we are not using the root account on a daily basis and are not logged directly to it. This is because in case you run any command you are running it with the highest privileges, and this is not something you want to do without thinking before hit run. Change default VNC port (5901) to something different

Create new user, so you are not logged as root

add user joker

Add user to sudoers file

usermode -aG sudo joker

Changing Default VNC Port

Specifies the TCP port on which Xvnc listens for connections from viewers (the protocol used in VNC is called RFB - "remote framebuffer"). The default is 5900 plus the display number.

Grep -n vncPort /usr/bin/vncserver

Vi /usr/bin/vncserver
  Inside vi jump into the line using the command :218

Managing VNC Server

Once you have it running unless you reboot your machine you will not have to start it again. Ideally you could create a bash script that is run at the moment the machine boots up, avoiding you to have to restart the server everytime you boot up your machine, this option will vary from environment to environment.

Check if server is running

ps aux | grep vnc

To start the sever

vncserver :1

Stop the server

vncserver -kill {display-number}

Wrapping up

You should now be able to connect to your machine using the VNC connection you have created. Now we can run our vncserver and connect to it using our remote desktop client.