"headed" virtualbox + vnc

Ted Mittelstaedt tedm at mittelstaedt.us
Sat Dec 3 21:28:27 UTC 2011

On 12/1/2011 12:32 PM, Andriy Gapon wrote:
> on 01/12/2011 19:56 Greg Byshenk said the following:
>> On Thu, Dec 01, 2011 at 07:02:24PM +0200, Andriy Gapon wrote:
>>> on 01/12/2011 18:17 Warren Block said the following:
>>>> On Thu, 1 Dec 2011, Andriy Gapon wrote:
>>>>> Is it possible to start a guess VM with GUI and also be able to access it via VNC?
>>>>> All google hits for freebsd+virtualbox+vnc are about VBoxHeadless.
>>>> net/x11vnc installed in the guest should work.
>>> Of course that's not what I meant/wanted.
>> It's about as close as you can get, I think.
>> If I understand aright, "standard" VNC uses its own display, which
>> means that it can't somehow "attach" to an existing X display.
>> I've never used it, but according to its description, x11vnc -does-
>> allow you to connect to a running X display:
>> 	"x11vnc differs from traditional UNIX VNC servers in that
>> 	it is accessing a real X displays that may already be in
>> 	progress rather than creating its own X server for clients
>> 	to connect to."
> I am not sure what all of this (i.e. features of vncserver and x11vnc) has to do
> with a capability of Virtualbox to export guest's screen via VNC protocol.

The way I do it is as follows:

The FreeBSD server boots up to the command line but it starts a vnc server

I vnc into the BSD box.  From the GUI I start VirtualBox.  I then start 
the guests.  I then click Close on the vnc client, this disconnects the
client but leaves the vnc server and it's screen running, and in that
is running the GUI control for VirtualBox, as well as
leaving the GUI interfaces to the various guest's "consoles" still 
running, all in that vnc server session.

For Windows XP, Vista or 7 guests, I just make sure to use Pro versions
which allow an RDP session into the guest.  If I need access to the
"consoles" of those systems I just VNC back into the host vnc server
and this connects me to the screen that's still running and the GUI
control for VirtualBox as well as all the guests screens.

For other BSD or Linux guests, I make sure to start those to the command 
line console.  They can run VNC servers or I can just use
an X server on a PC or workstation to run X programs on those guests.


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