How do I automatically run Firefox on an Ubuntu Server inside the Amazon EC2 cloud as soon as the server starts up?

I know how to create my own AMIs and all that jazz. I just need to know how to auto-start firefox.

The Ubuntu Edition is 8.04 Hardy. The server environment is Amazon EC2.

  • Didn't you ask the pretty much same question here? serverfault.com/questions/113300 – Sideshowcoder Feb 18 '10 at 9:32
  • Yes, and it got plagued with confusion! My apologies, I am a native windows user, I didn't get the terminology correct. – darkAsPitch Feb 18 '10 at 10:37
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    Justin asked a question on your original post that you didn't answer : what are you trying to accomplish ? Why do you want Firefox started automatically ? Chances are, there is a better and less complicated way of doing what you actually want than this one. – François Feugeas Feb 18 '10 at 12:02
  • re:defraagh, well then how could I automatically run a virtualbox machine or any other GUI related program on linux startup. Nevermind the fact that I said firefox. – darkAsPitch Feb 18 '10 at 16:24
  • The question you should answer (or ask yourself) is where is your display (monitor, keyboard, mouse) that will be used by your graphical app. – Diego Torres Milano Feb 18 '10 at 16:31

Judging from the comments to the original question, and you just want some sort of GUI, isn't vnc-server the obvious solution?

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  • You can script vncserver to launch upon start up...or cron it, or whatever you want. – Matt Simmons Feb 18 '10 at 19:35

Well, you could add the line

/usr/bin/firefox &

to the file


That's the literal answer. Whether that does anything useful, well....

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    Or in .bash_profile if it is for a particular user upon log-in; might be useful to test whether the session supports X windows.. – PP. Feb 18 '10 at 14:33
  • Paul, do I not have to specify a user account as well? I tried this, rebooted, and still firefox only starts when I login via NX server, not on system boot. – darkAsPitch Feb 18 '10 at 16:22
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    This would start Firefox as the root user. – Ernie Feb 18 '10 at 18:06

Would an init.d script launching gnome-session as the user who has firefox as a startup program work?

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If you are using gnome. system > preferences > start up applications

add firefox and it will start with that session every time you login. Just like windows.

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  • You are right, it will start if I actually connect to it graphically. I need the GUI/Gnome part of ubuntu to start whether I connect to it or not. This seems to be pretty tough on linux. It's easy as pie in windows - GUI starts up whether I am viewing it or not. – darkAsPitch Feb 18 '10 at 17:52
  • Sorry. I'm having a very hard time getting my head around what you're trying to accomplish. Do you want to export that display (firefox) out to another console. – egorgry Feb 18 '10 at 21:08

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