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New instructions for individual vncserver sessions

This document (000021364) is provided subject to the disclaimer at the end of this document.


SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 15 SP5
SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 15 SP5


Versions of SUSE Linux Enterprise Server and Desktop previous to 15 SP5 provided a "vncserver" script that could be run by a user to setup remote access to their desktop via a VNC client.  With the release of SP5, this command is no longer available due to an update of the TigerVNC server application.

"vncserver" is now provided as a systemd service.  The following instructions should be used for configuring individual remote access to a users desktop.


Note:  The following documentation is taken directly from the TigerVNC project with a few modifications for clarity when configured for SUSE Linux Enterprise products.  The original documentation can be found here:

Changes in recent TigerVNC versions

Previous TigerVNC versions had a wrapper script called vncserver. This script could be run as a user manually to start Xvnc process. The usage was quite simple as you just run:

$ vncserver :x [vncserver options] [Xvnc options]

and that was it. It worked fine for some cases, but far from all. There were issues when users wanted to use it in combination with systemd. Therefore, the implementation had to be changed to comply with SELinux and systemd rules.

How to start TigerVNC server


Add a user mapping

With this you can map a user to a particular port. The mapping should be done in /etc/tigervnc/vncserver.users configuration file. It should be pretty straightforward. Once you open the file you will see there are some examples, but basically the mapping is in form:


For example you can have


Note:  The YaST configuration for "Remote Administration (VNC)" will use :1 (port 5901) as the default display/port for remote access.  If this option is enabled in YaST, do not use the same display/port here in this configuration or there will be a conflict.

In addition, the display numbers used here correspond to the matching TCP port to be used for the connection using the formula 5900+DisplayNumber.  For example:

:1 = 5901
:2 = 5902
:20 = 5920
:110 = 6010

Before assigning a display/port, be sure it is not already in use by any other process.

Configure Xvnc options

To configure Xvnc parameters, you need to go to the same directory where you did the user mapping (/etc/tigervnc/) and open vncserver-config-defaults configuration file. This file is for the default Xvnc configuration and will be applied to every user unless any of the following applies:

  • The user has its own configuration in $HOME/.vnc/config.
  • The same option with different value is configured in   vncserver-config-mandatory configuration file, which replaces the   default configuration and has even a higher priority than the per-user   configuration. This option is for system administrators when they want   to force particular Xvnc options.

Format of the configuration file is also quite simple as the configuration is in form of:


for example:


See the following manpage for more details: Xvnc(1).


It is recommended to set option specifying the session you want to start. E.g. when you want to start GNOME desktop, then you have to use:


This should match the name of a session desktop file from /usr/share/xsessions directory. If you don't specify the session, TigerVNC will try to use the first one it finds, which may or may not work correctly.

Set VNC password

You need to set a password for each user in order to be able to start the TigerVNC server. In order to create a password, you just run:

$ vncpasswd

You need to run it as the user who will run the server.


If you used TigerVNC before with your user and you already created a password, then you have to make sure the $HOME/.vnc folder created by vncpasswd have the correct SELinux context. You either can delete this folder and recreate it again by creating the password one more time, or alternatively you can run:

$ restorecon -RFv /home/<USER>/.vnc

Start the TigerVNC server

Finally you can start the server using systemd service. To do so just run:

$ systemctl start vncserver@:x

Run this as the root user or:

$ sudo systemctl start vncserver@:x

Run it as a regular user in case the user has permissions to run sudo. Don't forget to replace the :x by the actual number you configured in the user mapping file. For example:

$ systemctl start vncserver@:1

This starts a TigerVNC server for user test with GNOME session.

In case you want your server to be automatically started at boot, you can run:

$ systemctl enable vncserver@:1


If you previously used TigerVNC and you were used to start it by using systemd, then you might need to remove previous systemd configuration files placed in /etc/systemd/system/vncserver@.service, in order to avoid them being prioritized by the new systemd service files from latest TigerVNC.


You will not be able to start a TigerVNC server for a user who is already logged into a graphical session. Avoid running the server as the root user as it's not a safe thing to do. While running the server as the root should work in general, it's not recommended to do so and there might be some things which are not working properly.

Additional Information

As mentioned in the "Limitations", a user can only have one graphical session.  If the user has another one open at the console, or another remote session such as xrdp (RDP) or VNC via the YaST configuration, then the connection to this session will result in a black screen. 


This Support Knowledgebase provides a valuable tool for SUSE customers and parties interested in our products and solutions to acquire information, ideas and learn from one another. Materials are provided for informational, personal or non-commercial use within your organization and are presented "AS IS" WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND.

  • Document ID:000021364
  • Creation Date: 20-Feb-2024
  • Modified Date:20-Feb-2024
    • SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop
    • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server
    • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP Applications

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