XRDP – Remote Connect to Gnome Classic Interface – Option 2

Hello World,

In our previous post, we have described how you could use the gnome 2 or Gnome Classic Desktop with the XRDP Software package. Since Ubuntu 13.10, it was not possible to use the gnome Classic desktop in conjunction with xRDP software. When trying to access the gnome Classic desktop through xrdp, you would see a grey screen and you would not be able to have it working.

This was the past. Nowadays, it’s possible to xrdp into Ubuntu computers and access the gnome Classic desktop.

In our previous post, we have described the easy way to perform such installation. In this post, we will use a slighty different approach. Instead of using the standard vnc package that comes with the default xrdp package, we will replace it and use the TigerVNC software package.

The TigerVNC package is able to render through the XRDP Software a large selection of Desktop environments including Unity, Gnome Shell and gnome Classic Desktop

Let’s do this….

Step by Step Process

Step 1 – Download TigerVNC deb package

You can download the TigerVNC package for Ubuntu 16.04.1 by clicking on the link below.

Box-download-48Download Tigervnc Deb Package (for Ubuntu 16.04.1 – 64 bit)


Step 2 – Install the TigerVNC Software 

From a Terminal Console, go to the location where you have downloaded the debian package and issue the following commands

sudo dpkg -i tigervncserver_1.6.80-4_amd64.deb
sudo apt-get install -f

Step 3 – Install the xrdp Package

We will perform the same process as in part I in order to install the xrdp package

1 –  Open a Terminal console and issue the following command

sudo apt-get install xrdp -y

You might be asked to provide a password (because you are using sudo command)

Step 4 – Install Gnome Classic Desktop

To install the Gnome Classic Desktop, you will issue the following command in a terminal console.

sudo apt-get install gnome-session-flashback -y 

Wait for the process to complete. When completed, login from the console and select the gnome metacity option in the login menu (see screenshot below).  Ensure that your gnome metacity session is configured properly and that you can see the panel in the top bar

Step 5 – Install Configure your xrdp settings 

You need to specify which desktop to start while connected through xRDP session.  To perform this action, you would need to create and populate either the .xsession file (per user) or the /etc/startwm.sh (all users) with the proper configuration information (as described below)

Open a Terminal console and issue the following command (if you have only one user on your system)

echo "gnome-session --session=gnome-flashback-metacity & gnome-panel" >~/.xsession


sudo sed -i.bak '/fi/a #xrdp multi-users \n "gnome-session --session=gnome-flashback-metacity & gnome-panel" \n' /etc/xrdp/startwm.sh

Note :

Because we are using the Tigervnc software, we do not need to use the – -disable-acceleration-check option.  TigerVnc provides this capability of rendering modern desktop with no complex configuration.

Step 6 – Configure the Keyboard Settings for XRDP

Almost there ! If you are using a keyboard layout different than en-US on your system, you will need to configure your xrdp session to know about that.  If you do not configure anything and you provide login in the xRDP login page, be aware that the en-US keyboard layout will be used. This would be also used in the XRDP Remote Session.

If you wish to use a different keyboard layout, proceed with the following actions

1 : You go to the /etc/xrdp directory

2 : you issue the command setxkbmap -layout <%your layout%> to define which keyboard map/layout to use. In my case, in using a belgian keyboard, so I would type setxkbmap -layout be 

3 : create a copy of the km-0409.ini file into the same directory. It seems that this is the default file used by xrdp to define the keyboard layout. You will need to use sudo in order to be able to write into the directory

4 : Check that you have a backup of your file by typing the dir or ls command

5 : update the file by issuing the following command sudo xrdp-genkeymap km-0409.ini

Step 7 – Reconnect to the same session

Since Ubuntu 14.10, a new xrdp package has been made available in the Ubuntu repository. This package fixes a long time issue related to the fact that users could not reconnect to the same session.  If you are using the packagexrdp 0.6.1-1 or later, you do not need to perform any customization, you will reconnect automatically to the same session.

Final Notes

This is is for this post !  So, as you can see we have now two ways that can be used to connect to the Gnome Classic interface via the XRDP software package.

  • You can decide to perform an simple and standard xrdp installation and still having access to your gnome Classic interface.
  • You can also decide to replace the default vncserver used by xrdp package with the TigerVNC. Using this package, you will be able to easily configure and access your gnome Desktop interface.

Now; it’s up to you to choose between these two options…. If you do not want to install and use alternate Desktop, you can simply configure your system to use the Unity Desktop (see http://c-nergy.be/blog/?p=9962 )

Till next time

See ya



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