Ubuntu and VNC

Ubuntu has been my Linux of choice for sometime now. Currently using Ubuntu 7.10 (Gutsy) with default VNC package. Along the way I have found some issues.

Keyboard Malfunction

I recently ran into a problem while upgrading distributions. In short, the keyboard mapping was completely messed up when connected over VNC. Typing characters over VNC returned seemingly random characters on the other end. The problem has been discussed and a work-around solution proposed here:


Two posts by “wjs” on that page got me up and running (I am using a U.S. keyboard). The correct characters are now carried over VNC. Evidently, this bug is still not fixed, and has been experienced with multiple Ubuntu distributions. Check out the link above for more information.

Disappearing Desktop

I have also found an issue related to the display of the desktop and menus which seems to affect the operation of the keyboard and mouse, as well. Whenever I would try to connect to a VNC session, the login process would begin, the menu bars at the top and
bottom would flash, but disappear. I was left with only the trademark Ubuntu brown desktop (my current background) and no menus. The mouse and keyboard also seemed inoperable. I began to think something in gnome was broken, but could not track down the problem. In the end, I discovered that specifying a color depth when starting the VNC server corrected the problem. Instead of just

vncserver -geometry 1024x768 :1

which would give me an inoperable desktop, I used

vncserver -geometry 1024x768 -depth 16 :1

and the desktop loaded fine. I have not looked around much online regarding this problem.

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