Enabling remote desktop sharing (VNC) on Linux Mint 19

As of Linux Mint 19 there is no longer a menu option for the old vino-preference screen which allowed you to enable remote desktop at the push of a button.

I will miss you simple setting screen…

Instead there is a new way to make this work :). Assuming you are starting from a fresh install we first need to install vino:

sudo apt install vino

Once that’s done we can start the server using the command:

/usr/lib/vino/vino-server

Don’t forget to set this up to run automatically if you want it to happen every time you boot up!

There are a few additional tweaks that I like to apply as well. The first is to disable requiring VNC encryption as I’ll only ever be connecting to this server via ssh anyway and VNC encryption isn’t universally supported.

gsettings set org.gnome.Vino require-encryption false

Next up I want to disable requiring someone on the remote machine to accept the fact that I’m connecting. To me it kind of defeats the whole purpose of remote desktop sharing if I have to be local to allow the remote connection access.

gsettings set org.gnome.Vino prompt-enabled false

Hopefully this post saves you some headache!



19 Comments

  1. this doesn’t work. it just says “Unable to init server: Could not connect: Connection refused
    Cannot open display:
    Run ‘vino-server –help’ to see a full list of available command line options”
    when I run “/usr/lib/vino/vino-server”. And how would I even use this if it did work? you don’t show where the settings are or anything. This is kind of a crappy, vague tutorial.

  2. I’m sorry you didn’t find this free tutorial on the internet helpful. Perhaps you’ve already solved the issue but allow me to try and help you if not. Did you perhaps run the command while still as root? If so try running it under your user account instead.

    If by “you didn’t show where the settings are or anything” you mean physically on the disk then I think you may not understand how this works. You’re basically editing the GNOME equivalent of the Windows registry. If you simply use the command from a terminal it will set it for you.

    I hope you got it working!

  3. “Don’t forget to set this up to run automatically if you want it to happen every time you boot up!”

    Can you specify how to do this, and perhaps update the article with this info? Many thanks!

  4. If you search in the menu for Startup Applications you can create a new entry in there and paste the command to run on startup.

  5. I try it according to A.D instructions , but there are many options .. I try some , and it just works with .. vino_3.8.1-0ubuntu9.2_amd64.deb … I am using LM19 cinamon ..

    Save my day ..

    Thanks ..

    STALonge

  6. Finally something that works. I hate linux to be honest, the simplest of things is so crazy hard. Spent 2 days minimum to get this to work.
    This works great.
    To people having problem maybe you dont have a monitor cable connected to your pc? that sucks but i know usually this will cause problem with remote desktop in linux. I had to buy a fake monitor dongle so that my linux pc thinks its connected to a monitor.

  7. The sad part of all this is why did the good folks at Team Mint remove functionality that many liked in Mint 18? It’s always frustrating when distros take one step forward and two steps back. VNC used to be a simple native thing in most popular distros and, supposedly, the whole point of newer versions of Mint is to be more newbie friendly and less need for the terminal command line. But, in this case, they went the opposite direction.

    As this thread shows, it’s also not as simple as just Googling the issue and finding an obvious solution. Instead you’ll find many different recommendations and lots of “this is how I do it but might not work for you” advice. Experienced Linux users tend to often do things differently, each having their favorite tools, desktops, distros, utilities, applications, etc. A newbie following their advice often will waste even more time and become even more frustrated.

  8. I’m not sure it was the Mint team that removed the functionality. They don’t directly program every piece of software in the distribution and (as an example) other distros using the same version of remmina like Ubuntu (which Mint is based on) are also “missing” this functionality.

    I suppose I should file a feature request against remmina when I get a moment…

  9. Doing a bit of digging it seems (from memory and paraphrasing) the Mint team said it was a Mate issue. And the Mate team said it was a Vine issue. And the Vine folks were depending on a central gnome-based GUI configuration tool that apparently several distros, including Mint, eliminated/replaced. So the easy “fix” was to make newer versions of Vine only configurable from the command line.

    My greater point is the net effect for Mint 19 users was a step backward from Mint 18. They could have included the old version of Vine or an entirely different remote desktop solution. Especially for Linux distros aimed at Windows users, like Mint, one goal should be providing as much similar native functionality as Windows has via the GUI desktop.

    Sadly the “beauty” of even the latest Linux distros and desktops is often only skin deep. You don’t have to scratch very far below the swanky surface to find issues like this one. If even half the development effort that’s going into all the various desktop flavors, visual UI design, effects, themes, and other stuff that adds zero functionality, went into making the stuff that matters actually work right we’d have some great distros. There’s a big difference between UX and UI. IMHO, distros like Mint are far too focused on the superficial UI and not the total user experience. It’s form over function.

  10. I completely agree with DevGuy.
    Far too many people are focused on the glitz and glamour instead of the shovel and the unfinished ditch.

  11. Thanks @Oryx and Jim. I like the premise of this website but I fear it won’t make much of a difference in making future distros a better replacement for Windows or MacOS. The collective “Borg” behind distros is beyond dysfunctional and already overloaded with too many requests. What’s more, most of the people actually doing the development work are hardcore Linux geeks that generally have little interest in catering to Windows or Mac users. It’s been that way forever and movement in the right direction is glacially slow. For the most part the contributors are not being paid for their efforts so, unless it’s something they personally want, they have little incentive to make things easy for Linux newbies.

  12. On a brighter note I can report installing Remmina from the Cinnamon Software Manager works reasonably well as a client but you still need a VNC server at the other end. You have to also install the VNC plug-in which is listed right below it. I also tried RDP to a Windows machine and that also mostly works if you get all the boxes correct when you define the connection.

    If you’re OK with a closed source free-for-home-use solution you might look at NoMachine: https://www.nomachine.com/ It performs much better than VNC, is multi-platform, can be configured as a client or server, and even supports remote audio which Remmina and other Linux VNC clients do not AFAIK.

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