There is a Linux desktop/server co-located at location-b.

I am stationed at location-a and use a VNC client to connect to location-b.

To prevent others from watching my desktop actions, how can I disable/blank the remote desktop at location-b when my VNC client connects?

  • Do you want to blank the local desktop and work on it remotely, or do you want to connect to some other X session using VNC that is not displayed, and during that time blank the screen so people know you are working?
    – Timo
    Jan 29 '14 at 7:52
  • When the VPN client connects, I want to blank/blackout the remote desktop and work on it remotely. Usually, the monitor is turned off, but I want to make sure it's blacked out even if someone decides to turn on the monitor. Jan 29 '14 at 9:30
  • That doesn't really answer my question, so one more try: you can connect with VNC to an X session that does not show up even if the monitor is on do you want that and blank the screen while you do that (answer A), or do you want to connect to the running X on the monitor and blank that (answer B). Please answer A or B. (B is AFAIK not possible, A is possible)
    – Timo
    Jan 29 '14 at 9:38
  • Answer A is fine. Jan 29 '14 at 9:48

What you should do is create a new X session using x11vnc (you have to install that on the server). Login with ssh to the server and run:

 x11vnc -display :9

You can now connect to the server using, e.g., vncviewer:

 vncviewer server:9

make sure the numbers in both commands are the same. The normal display is :0, so that will not show anything. You could explicitly blank that screen programmatically, but if you just want to prevent others from seeing what you are doing this should be enough.

Please note that you don't have a full desktop, just an X session.

More background info can be found on this site

  • was hoping I could stay within openbox gui env, but I'll give x11vnc a try in the future. Jan 29 '14 at 15:18

I don't think it can be done (as far as I know). A couple of alternatives are to use use the X protocol on top of ssh (using ssh -x or ssh -y) or to use a new tightvnc session.

Both options don't affect the local display, but don't let you see what's currently on it though.

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