How to set up VNC on CentOS

Q I've installed a minimal CentOS 4 installation on a headless PC at home, which I plan to use for email, DNS, web hosting etc. I'm relatively new to Linux and really like the X-based system-config-tools that Red Hat has provided for system administration. I've read about VNC and have installed the vnc-server RPM but cannot get Vncserver to run. Can you please offer some insight to assist me in getting VNC up and running?

A Installing Vncserver on CentOS/RHEL is straightforward, but it does require a few other packages to operate correctly. Provided you're running a minimal install, the first step is to install vnc-server, xorg-x11, gnome-session and gnome-terminal. The xorg-x11 and gnome-session packages have numerous dependencies, so if you're installing via Yum and you have a slow internet connection, now would be a great time to go grab a coffee. Alternatively, you can avoid installing the Gnome-related packages and use the default TWM window manager. This will need xorg-x11-twm. If you do choose to use TWM, you can leave ~/.vnc/xstartup with the default configuration. If you plan to use Gnome, you can use the following:

vncconfig -iconic &
gnome-terminal &
gnome-session &

Once that's been saved, ensure that xstartup is executable. Finally, to start the VNC server, use the vncserver command. This will first ask for a password to use when you connect with your VNC client. If you do not specify a display for Vncserver to use, it will default to the first available display number (which is usually :1). You should now be able to use your VNC viewer to connect to your IP followed by display number (ie for example). To get Vncserver to start at boot, use the chkconfig command to enable the service to start in the default runlevel. Additionally, on Centos/RHEL there is a Sysconfig file for Vncserver, located in /etc/sysconfig. This file is used to tell Vncserver which user to run under and which display to connect to.

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