This is a bit complicated and highly specific case so I will try with a high level description and if necessary delve deeper. My purpose is to run ROS (Robot Operating System) on a Digital Ocean node so that I don't have to set it up on my Mac (anyway, it won't run properly on a Mac.)

I'm running Ubuntu 18.04 on the Digital Ocean node. There I am running xfce4 and tightvncserver.

On my mac, I am creating the tunnel to the above server with this command:

ssh -L 5901: -C -N -l <myname> <myip>

On my Mac I then use vncviewer to connect to the Digital Ocean Server, and that seems to work fine.

When I launch the most basic ROS simulator, which normally would open a graphical window if I was running on a native ubuntu box I get this error:

enter image description here

Any thoughts on what is broken and how to fix it?

1 Answer 1


I got through this issue by lots of googling. I use this set of instructions: https://www.digitalocean.com/community/tutorials/how-to-install-and-configure-vnc-on-ubuntu-18-04 but instead of installing:

sudo apt install tightvncserver

I used

sudo apt-get install tigervnc-standalone-server

Which solves the immediate problem. I can run ROS, various qt utilities, and turtlesim pretty well. However, getting rviz and gazebo running breaks. I dont know if it's simply matter of performance of the particular node I have on digital ocean or something more fundamental with the configuration.

  • And then, to clear No protocol specified error, I had to xhost + local:
    – Donn Lee
    Oct 29, 2021 at 23:19

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .