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I can see the console via the VMware Infrastructure client.

I can start a VNC server on the server itself, but that leaves me without any X desktop magic.

I want to connect a VNC client to connect to the console, instead of starting up my Windows VM to run the VI client.

Is it possible to connect directly? My google fu is not helping me on this one.


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While I haven't tried this before, this article talks about enabling the VMware console to be connected to using a VNC client

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Looks like exactly what I want, will try it out as soon as I can. Thanks. – Otto Jun 10 '09 at 19:10

If I understand your question correctly, you can modify ~/.vnc/xstartup to give you all the "X desktop magic" from VNC.

change the last line of xstartup from twm & to gnome-sesssion & or startkde &

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Not what I was thinking, but I wasn't sure where that config file lived... definitely a helpful answer. Thanks. – Otto Jun 10 '09 at 19:12

The Linux VNC servers that I've run across are set up so that they will only display the terminal of a logged in user. This is sort of like Windows' Remote Assistance.

I've gotten better mileage using XMing

If you're just using the console (not XWindows) PuTTY is your friend.

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It is not true that Linux VNC servers only display the terminal of a logged-in user. While the service must be running (startup script?) Linux VNC typically gives you a NEW session, unlike remote desktop where connected users share the same desktop. The VNC that Ubuntu uses for "remote desktop", however, behaves like windows Remote Desktop (ie - shared desktop) – Brent Jun 10 '09 at 19:03
I actually need X in this case, I have some automation scripts that kick off a real-live Firefox for testing. The vnc I have actually doesn't use the logged in user, it's it's own virtual frame buffer. – Otto Jun 10 '09 at 19:09

Using the VMWare client does not require networking to be working on the server. So first I would verify that the server has an IP address and can ping something on the internet. (note - option 3 below does not require this)

I'm a little bit vague on what you are trying to do - just connect to a console - or get an X desktop.

  1. If you are just connecting to a console, don't bother with VNC - just set up openssh on your server, and use PuTTY to connect from a windows box.

  2. If you are wanting to connect to an X Desktop, then VNC will do this for you - whether or not you have one running on the server's console

  3. If you are wanting to view the VMWare client console then you need to be VNC-ing to your VMWare host box, not the client. Again - X doesn't have to be running on the server console, but VNC will start it for its own session.

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I want a VNC to the virtual "physical" graphics display of the guest. – Otto Jun 10 '09 at 19:11
I think you are confusing host and guest. Your ESX server is your host, the virtual machine is the guest. It sounds like you are wanting to VNC to the HOST machine, which doesn't run an X-Server by default, correct? – Brent Jun 10 '09 at 19:40
No, I want VNC to the guest. Since it's an Ubuntu Desktop VM, I'd like to use the existing X session rather than creating a new one via vncserver and eating RAM and CPU for it. – Otto Jun 11 '09 at 1:52

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