I created this article in 2011, it was copied across to the wordpress wiki in the summer of 2013, and then amended in November 2013. I returned to it in Feb 2015, to document my adventures with wordpress. In 2017, I wanted to return to VNC/RDP and so came back to this page and I reviewed the content and moved much of it to the comments section of this page.

Virtual Private Clouds

In 2017, Amazon are keen that you use what they call a VPC, a Virtual Private Cloud, this needs a gateway (firewall) if you need it to connect to the internet. Documentation on the use and construction of  the VPC is held here. Use the VPC portal to

  1. Create the VPC, it needs a ip block, I am usually using, I don’t need it to be so large.
  2. Create an internet gateway (IG)
  3. Amend the routing table, using the routing table menu item on the VPC portal, in the VPC to associate the outgoing route to the internet with the IG.


I used neutrino labs xdrp code

  1. http://c-nergy.be/blog/?p=10513
  2. http://c-nergy.be/blog/?p=10752

Not quite working, its trying to display on the private ip address and it finds :0 cannot be written to.

I gave up on this route.

I found this support page, on the amazon site detailing how to make and connect to a bespoke desktop. I have placed the code in my ubuntu-tools github repo, called mk-rdesktop.

I still need to either set a password, or create a new login user.

AWS also offer Desktop AMIs.

Launching an Instance

Amazon have a good page, Getting Started Guide. This focuses on Launching an Instance. Launching your 1st instance allows you to obtain an ssh key and declare some firewall rules. Make sure that ssh is enabled and that you store the key. The user and instance name are available from the aws console.

Saving to persistent storage

Amazon have a documentation page, Where to go from here? which recommended using ES storage for hosting machine images.

Console Access

I use putty or bash ssh, even easier with Ubuntu for Windows 10.

Important Amazon Support

Essential Services

  1. SSH – don’t forget to allow it in the firewall rules
  2. DNS – I use DynDNS, whose home page.
  3. apache – need to test that dyndns is working
  4. git – planet venus now uses git, see also my planet planet page
  5. scp/ftp – I need a file transfer program to up load stuff, it seems I have one
  6. one drive – see this on ask unbuntu.

While not essential the following are useful,

  1. Zabbix can be useful, but I have never bothered to install it since I have not been running servers. Zabbix needs firewall ports to be opened.
  2. Java,  when the article was originally written, Linux didn’t come with Java, but most repos now support it.
  3. I experimented with VNC and moved my notes to the comments (17th June 2017)


I originally used Second Brain to manage my AWS links, but they gave up, I transferred to del.icio.us and they gave up, and so normally use diigo today.

[jp-rss-feed url=”http://feeds.delicious.com/v2/rss/davelevy/aws” numitems=”7″ getdesc=”50″ ]


19 Replies

  1. I am amending the page, I’ll remove the following content.

    I have used AWS Management Console and filtered on EBS storage and on the string 10.10. I have chosen to use ami-f46f5a80, which is an Ubuntu 10.10 Server i386. I created a new key pair. 12th Jan 2011. This is the old way to select a source image.

    Since I am using PUTTY, I need to convert the key to PUTTY format, using PUTTYGEN.

    The AWS instances disconnect from the network after periods of non-use. There is a flag in Putty,

    PuTTY Configuration > Categories > Connection > Seconds between keepalives

    Using a .ssh/config file and setting the following flags

    ServerAliveInterval 60
    ServerAliveCountMax 5

    works for bash ssh via cygwin on windows.

  2. I documented how I built EC2 instances for Fedora and Ubuntu. The library is now much tighter and the technique no longer works. This has been removed.

  3. What I originally said about dyndns. I use DynDNS, whose home page is at http://www.dyndns.com/, who have a page called DNS Update Clients. I used ddclient on the late lamented Qube. It’s download page and a how to page are on their site. , and some aspects of my Cobalt Installation might be on the Dell or even elsewhere on this site.

    I use ddclient to maintain the server’s dns name. My notes have been transferred to my ddclient page on this site. They include the magic runes needed to obtain the public IP address, which are documented there and on the internet at Amazon EC2 – What You May Not Have Known a blog article at codesta.com. Ubuntu users installing from the tarball will need to install the PERL SSL libraries. My ddclient wiki page was updated in November 2013 when I created a new AMI. The ubuntu install package has superb post install script.

    I looked for the runes again, and found these articles at stackoverflow.com.

  4. Installing Zabbix:

    I downloaded the source and created the zabbix agents having installed gcc.

    1. Create the User
    2. Create the Config directory, i.e. /etc/zabbix
    3. Copy the conf file to the directory
    4. Set the configuration options in the conf file to hold pid & log file in /var/tmp
    5. Reserve the ports by editing /etc/services
    6. Get my initialisation script from the Zabbix forums
    7. Ensure that all local configurations required are are accurately stated in the script e.g. /usr/local/${whatever}/bin, /etc/zabbix and /var/tmp

    I have not installed this in the /etc/init.d directories. I need to open the zabbix ports, and I need to sort my server out. (Its a bit crook at the moment!) See above, I’ll need a new instance, with new network firewall rules. The Zabbix ports, 10050 & 10051 need to be enabled.

  5. Running a remote desktop using VNC

    I started my build from http://cloud.ubuntu.com/ami/, for various reasons I( used a 32 bit image, based on Natty hosted in the EU. This is a server.

    sudo tasksel install ubuntu-desktop
    sudo apt-get install update
    sudo apt-get install upgrade

    I then referred to

    which took me to tightvncserver, this is a wrapper for x11vnc and so I lookedup

    I set the firewalls to 590[01] and downloaded http://www.uvxstartupnc.com/ to my desktop to act as my local client. I started a server, see below, I have enscripted this and needed to customise the xstartup file.



    This works quite nicely, with just one problem. In my VNC sessions, the ‘D’ key is bound to ‘Hide All Windows’, this thread, tightvnc Keyboard Oddity, documents the solution, using ‘System -> Prefs -> Keyboard Short Cuts’. I ran into some dead ends while looking for a command line solution, and so to ensure that GNOME was fully upto date I ran,

    sudo apt-get install gnome

    tightvnc needs to initialise the user file system; I do not run it as root, but it does have a password function. I used ideas documented on

    to start and stop the server. I have written a vncctl script and again inspired by the ideas on ubuntu’s vnc page I wrote an xstartup script.

  6. How to install wordpress on ubuntu, prequisites, and configuration. It may be that wordpress can’t be installed on micro servers on EC2. I am sure that I have documented this elsewhere on the wiki and frankly the answer today is docker.

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