Cinnamon on VNC on CentOS 7

Overview

This document describes how to install Cinnamon desktop environment on CentOS 7 for use in VNC. Basically, you can take a headless server and turn it into a virtual desktop controller.

Caveats

Limitations of this design prevent this from scaling up past so many users, so this would be best suited for home or small office use.
VNC uses no security. Consider alternatives or additions to this process when security is a consideration.

Installing Cinnamon for VNC

Installing the components

Install the vnc server.

yum install tigervnc-server tigervnc vnc

Install the desktop environment.

yum install cinnamon

Install any applications to be used.

yum install firefox gnome-terminal

Configuring the components

For each user that uses a virtual desktop on this host, you will need a separate systemd service, as well as a vnc password which is separate from the regular user password. Also set up the xstartup file for vnc.

tu=bgstack15
tn=1
sudo cp -p /lib/systemd/system/vncserver@.service /etc/systemd/system/vncserver@\:${tn}.service
sed -r -i -e "s//${tu}/g;' /etc/systemd/system/vncserver@\:${tn}.service
systemctl enable vncserver@\:${tn}.service
firewall-cmd --permanent --add-port 59$( printf '%02i' "${tn}")/tcp
printf "For user ${tu} please provide new "
su - ${tu} -c vncpasswd
tf=~/.vnc/xstartup
test -f "${tf}" && \cp -p "${tf}" "${tf}.$( date "+%Y-%m-%dT%H%M%S" )"; touch "${tf}"; chmod 0755 "${tf}"
cat <<EOF > "${tf}"
unset SESSION_MANAGER
unset DBUS_SESSION_BUS_ADDRESS
[ -x /etc/vnc/xstartup ] && exec /etc/vnc/xstartup
[ -r $HOME/.Xresources ] && xrdb $HOME/.Xresources
exec /usr/bin/cinnamon-session
EOF
systemctl start vncserver@\:${tn}.service

Connecting to the desktop

On a client, run

vncviewer hostname:1
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