booting ubuntu without a monitor

Councill, David dcouncill at
Thu Apr 30 21:18:09 UTC 2009

I am still working on it. But both answers helped or at least allowed me
to try more things. Maybe I should explain again. I set up Ubuntu on a
computer that I want to use headless remotely for monitoring purposes so
it will be booted up without a monitor. It was running on XP and I
wanted to switch to Ubuntu or Debian. So I set up everything, tested the
vnc, and all was well until I booted without the monitor. The vnc could
not connect. So I had to hook the monitor back up and that's where I see
the low graphic mode that has to be acknowledged. A google search showed
many have encountered this problem but the only two answers I found did
not work.

Debian Etch, on the other hand, did everything I wanted. Except the vnc
consistently died after about a one minute connection with a kdm bug.
Kyle's suggestion on the vncserver should work - the bug is in the
default main session. Using vnc4server and creating a session, I can
connect to the new session fine in my tests. And so I might go this
route if there are no other ideas. The computer at present is running
Debian lenny (5).

In short, I want a headless remote computer - no monitor, mouse, or
keyboard. I need to be able to access it remotely but the programs I
need to run require a GUI.

So far -

Ubuntu 8 - will not boot up without a monitor, stopping kdm allows it to
boot to a command line, vnc and ssh can access it BUT X cannot be
started and no GUI available with vnc. Hooking a monitor up I can
acknowledge the prompt and get booted in.  

Ubuntu 9 - same except the low graphics mode no longer allows the user
to bypass and login, restart is required.

Debian Lenny - with no monitor, it will boot up to the command line
login, no need to disable kdm or gdm (that's progress). VNC and ssh work
fine on the monitor-less system. But I have yet to figure out how to get
GUI access in vnc session, startx will not work.

Debian Etch - booted fine without monitor, vnc accesses desktop but
errors out within a minute. Tests with a virtual machine indicate
vnc4server will get me past this bug so unless I can resolve the above
problems, I'll try this next again.

I hope this is clear. Sure I might be able to workaround having a GUI
but that means using capture files, then transferring them to another
computer to view. As I mentioned, yes I did searches - under using
search words like headless, debian, ubuntu, gdm, kdm combos and I get a
lot of hits with quite a few other people with the same problems and
some proposed solutions but none acknowledged that I have found in two
days of searching.


-----Original Message-----

He seem to be indicating he couldn't get past the 'xfix' screens on
The only way he'd see those screens is if he had a monitor attached
I was thinking he hadn't gotten past that to be worried about the
vncserver part.
Once the box is up and running (without gdm - headless it's pointless)
he can go ahead and run vncserver via ssh or whatever.

I didn't think he was seeing xfix messages in a VNC session - perhaps
I'm way off base here.

Hopefully between our various responses he'll get what he needs or let
us know.


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