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BTNC 01-28-2006 10:29 PM

starting XFree86 4.5.* with no mouse/keyboard
Hi, guys. I've got a server on a rack about a thousand miles away, so I don't have immediate access to it physically. However, I've been trying to install X on it so I can at least administer it as if I'm in front of it (VNC is installed and working, I just can only get a terminal instead of RedHat in all its graphical glory)...I've grown tired of SSH.

Suffice to say, however, I've never done anything like this. Frankly, I'm surprised I got this far...

I've installed XFree86 4.5 on my RedHat 9 box. When I try to start it ( XFree86 -xf86config /root/ ), it complains that there is no mouse. This is true...said computer has no mouse/keyboard. So, I'm stuck.

I want to be able to use my keyboard/mouse here in North Carolina to adminster my box in New York, but I can't get X to start without them...and the box has none.

What am I to do?

frob23 01-28-2006 11:15 PM

You should not need to start X on the server. The Xserver runs on your local computer (VNC here, I think). The X programs are considered clients and do not need to be run on a machine which is running a server.

Add the following to your .profile of the remote system or type it when you log in.

set DISPLAY=; export DISPLAY
Where is your local ip address.

And make sure you permit the remote server to connect to your Xserver.

xhost +
Where would be the ip address of the remote server in this case. This is the X command to do this, I do not know about VNC.

FYI, an actual X server requires some input device or another. The X server terminology is often the reverse of what people expect. The XServer runs on the machine with the keyboard, mouse, and monitor. The XClients are everything else (from the login manager, window manager, and programs). These do not need to be on the same machine as the server -- although they often are on home machines -- and connect just fine over a network.

The network overhead for X is pretty heavy. If it's a local network, that's not bad. You're going to need a high speed connection if it's not local, if you want it to be comfortable to use.

I would recommend that you use command line tools whenever possible (which should be always) but if you insist on the graphical tools... just remember that you don't need to run XServer on the server, as odd as that sounds.

frob23 01-28-2006 11:19 PM

Oh, I just noticed that VNC does not always use :0 (for Unix machines although this is configurable). Change the :0.0 to :1.0 or :2.0 or :x.0 where x is whatever VNC is using.

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