So I’ve ported this article over because it was unironically one of my most popular articles. I guess people really like VNC, which is a mess. Given that Wayland is supposed to be coming back as the “real” default of Ubuntu soon I should revisit this.
So in setting up Ubuntu 17.10 on a remote server, you might naturally wish to set up VNC on your box because let’s face it, monitor connectivity is at a premium and command-line wizardry, while amazing, isn’t the best way to go for everyone.
Something to consider is that As of 17.10, the default display server is Wayland. Wayland’s great for a default user experience, but for VNC (As well as other screen sharing apps) it is an absolute trainwreck. In fact, for the upcoming 18.04 LTS release in April XOrg will end up becoming the default display server again- you can read more about the rationale here.
So what’s a VNC user to do? Well, you have two real options.
First option is to straight up remove the Wayland session. There’s info on that here, which I haven’t tried but assume it isn’t far off from working.
The second option is to use a shell that relies on XOrg, such as xfce, and use that as your GUI on the box. Here is a pretty solid article on how to set that up.
Something you need to keep in mind is that VNC, by default, is really not that secure. With an 8 character password max, several glaring flaws in managing it at scale, and so on- actually, let me just drop this, a link to an old but still incredibly relevant blog post on why VNC can be a minefield. A good practice with VNC is to force localhost only connections to the service, which requires SSH tunneling. Please do this, even if in a home environment.
Please. Think of Bob Barker.