For the first time in a loooong time I (had to) set up remote desktop sharing, starting from an existing SSH login through a single-port pinhole in an immutable router firewall.
The remote PC runs Xubuntu 20.4 LTS and I verified it already had
x11vnc installed. If that’s not the case, make it so.
In order to share / control the desktop of a different user (hereinafter known as
kay), I must SSH into that PC as
kay. My SSH session uses public key authentication and
kay has no need for outbound SSH, so just use my PC’s public key in
authorized_keys file. On the remote PC, where I am signed in as me:
cd ~ sudo mkdir /home/kay/.ssh # kay does not have a public key sudo cp .ssh/authorized_keys /home/kay/.ssh # so just copy mine sudo chown -R kay:kay /home/kay/.ssh # transfer ownership sudo chmod go-rwx /home/kay/.ssh # set proper permissions
From my local PC, I can now SSH into the remote PC as
kay and start
x11vnc through the SSH tunnel:
ssh -v email@example.com -L 5900:localhost:5900 "x11vnc -display :0 -noxdamage -ncache 10 -ncache_cr -nopw"
Still on my PC, aim a VNC client at the local end of the tunnel:
Using novnc presents the remote desktop as a web page in a browser, although you may prefer something more traditional.
Somewhat to my surprise, It Just Worked™.