We're currently trying to get a Ubuntu 18.04 instance up and running inside a podman container. Our goal is to be able to connect to the linux system inside the container via VNC, we're trying to make tigervnc usable for that. Right now everything is working, we've set up the vncserver as a systemd service starting at container boottime and we're able to connect via a VNC client. BUT, we do not get some sort of a login screen which seems confusing. We've installed gdm3 (controlled by systemd) and use gnome at the moment (finally we're gonna reach out to switch to xfce). The systemd vncserver service runs as root, we're gonna switch to a userland service as soon as we figured out everything technically.

Since I'm not a Linux expert I wanted to ask you some questions:

  1. The obvious: Why don't we get a login screen? How is it possible that VNC circumvents the Linux login procedure?
  2. Do we have to configure our xstartup somehow so we do not slip into the XWindow system immidiately?

This is what /root/.vnc/xstartup looks like:



[ -x /etc/vnc/xstartup ] && exec /etc/vnc/xstartup
[ -r $HOME/.Xresources ] && xrdb $HOME/.Xresources
xsetroot -solid grey
vncconfig -iconic &

gnome-panel &
gnome-settings-daemon &
metacity &
nautilus &
gnome-terminal &

best and thanks in advance Andi

1 Answer 1


Looks as if we had a problem with our login manager (gdm). After switching to lightdm and some configuration we've managed to achieve what we want. Lightdm has the capability to start a VNC Server instance on startup which you can specify in /etc/lightdm/lightdm.conf e.g. like so


command=Xvnc :1 -rfbauth /opt/vnc_passwd

That configuration made us able to connect to our base linux within our podman container via VNC.

best, Andi

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