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Docker Alpine Xvfb howto

Docker Alpine Xvfb howto

This is a simple guide to get Alpine working with xvfb. It will work in a container or on a plain Alpine Linux install (VM or otherwise).

Install Required Components

Be sure to be using Alpine 3.8 (or maybe above) as the x11vnc package is not present in 3.7 repositories (main and community).

apk add xvfb fluxbox tmux x11vnc st

Update some Configuration Files

By default fluxbox menu starts xterm... we no have xterm.

sed -r -i 's/\[exec\] \(xterm\) \{xterm\}/\[exec\] \(st\) \{st\}/' /usr/share/fluxbox/menu

Start fluxbox from xinit.

echo "exec fluxbox" > ~/.xinitrc

Run X in Virtual Frame Buffer Mode

These commands will have to be run in separate terminals... why do you think I installed tmux?

xinit -- /usr/bin/Xvfb :1 -screen 0 1024x768x24
x11vnc -nopw -rfbport 5901 -permitfiletransfer -display :1

Connecting to the server is simple (provided the port is allowed through the firewall/iptables):


No password is setup (the -nopw argument). The x11vnc server will terminate when the vncviewer disconnects (the programmes will still run but the ability to connect via VNC will not work until the second commmand is run again on that server). To avoid this rather annoying feature simply add the -forever switch to the x11vnc command, like this:

x11vnc -forever -nopw -rfbport 5901 -permitfiletransfer -display :1

For more detail and a little script, please see my repository on github.


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