Does headless X require runlevel 5?

David Timms dtimms at
Sun Jun 11 07:32:40 UTC 2006

Janina Sajka wrote:
> Brett Serkez writes:
>> <snip>
>>> Runlevel 5 is broken. I'm presuming I need to get it working--but do I
>>> need to focus on the local video hardware even though I'm not supporting
>>> a local display? It would seem to me that the local video hw would not
>>> be relevant to remote gui access--but I don't understand X particularly,
>> Correct.  X is client-server, so remote users are running their own
>> X-server.  When connected via ssh -X, any gui programs will use the
>> remote user's display.  There is no need to run an X-server on a
>> system unless you plan on using the GUI on the console.
>>> so I'm confused on what fix to pursue and how.
>> You can run any UNIX/Linux system 'headless", without a GUI on the console.
> Yes, I thought so. Glad for the confirmation.
>> Modify /etc/inittab, change the 5 to 3:
>> id:5:initdefault:
>> id:3:initdefault:
>> This will change the default boot run-level for future boots.
>> As root, you can use the command:
>> # init 3
>> to force an immediate switch to run-level three which will bring down
>> the GUI on the console.
> Yes, got all that. Then I do:
> vncserver start
> Starting VNC server: no displays configured                [  OK  ]
> And then ...
> service vncserver status
> Xvnc is stopped
> This part doesn't seem correct. Is that to do with /etc/X11 and/or
> /etc/gdm configuration alone? Or something else?
Two further bits of config are required at minimum:
1. in: /etc/sysconfig/vncserver , example is given.
2. firewall: allow the tcp port (5900+) the vncserver number you chose 
in 1 to come through.

Config hasn't changed since FC4 eg:


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