Ubuntu Cloud Computer

An always-online server running a full Ubuntu Desktop can be useful for many reasons. I usually use DigitalOcean but the France-based host OVH seems perfect for this scenario — They're probably not amazing enough for mission-critical operations but the price is too low to pass up.

Initial Setup

You should now be running a server with Ubuntu Server 14.04. Once you're remotely logged in, you can execute these commands to prep the server.
  • apt-get update && apt-get upgrade
  • apt-get install nano
  • reboot

Install Desktop

The familiar desktops Unity and Gnome don't work without a display plugged in so the next best choice is Xfce which is like the Raspberry Pi desktop.
  • apt-get install xfce4 xfce4-goodies tightvncserver

Configure Accounts

For each user you want to add, run adduser username. Each will have it's own desktop environment. If you'd like the user to be a full admin run usermod -a -G sudo username.

Configure VNC

Repeat this process until all users are configured. Each user will have its own configuration.
  • Run su username to change to the test user.
  • Run vncserver -geometry 1440x900 and choose a password.
  • Run nano ~/.vnc/xstartup and replace with this:
    xrdb $HOME/.Xresources
    startxfce4 &
  • chmod +x ~/.vnc/xstartup


Use your favorite VNC app to connect.