Monday, February 16, 2009

Goodbye vncserver, hello xming

For the last 8 or so years, the my team has been using a combination of vncserver on a utility box and vncclient on our desktops to draw xwindow objects from various hosts.

Typically you would see this while using the Oracle Universal Installer.

The following steps describe how to use Xming, a far simpler (and some would argue safer) method to perform the same function as vncserver:

1)  Download Xming: http://sourceforge.net/projects/xming

2)  Install Xming, no special installation instructions.  (Screenshots of Xming are available:  http://www.straightrunning.com/XmingNotes/)

3)  Make sure Xming is running (You should see a swirly X in the system tray)

4)  Enable SecureCRT X11 Forwarding
    - Connect a session
    - Options -> Session Options
    - Select Remote/X11
    - Put a checkmark in "Forward X11 Packets"
    - OK
    - Logout and log back in for that session

5)  Try "xclock" from the command line, if it doesn't work...
    - Check DISPLAY environment variable.  It should be set to something like localhost:10.0
    - Is the X in the system tray?
    - Did you setup X11 forwarding?  Did you logout and log back in?

Cool stuff.  The three tier process (server -> utility host -> desktop) was difficult to explain much less troubleshoot.