VNC on a Raspberry Pi without Xorg

If you go looking for “Raspberry Pi VNC” in you web search engine of choice, you will probably come away thinking about tightvnc, x11vnx etc. These are all fine pieces of software, but what if you aren’t running Xorg? Perhaps you’re running OSMC or similar and, due to domestics, you can’t always get to hog the TV for an evening of playing with settings. What do you do now?

You could try the other VNC options but I’m telling they’ll fail. What you want is something running off dispmanx and dispmanx_vnc is here to save the day! Follow the well documented pre-req steps. For example, if using OSMC:

sudo apt-get install build-essential rbp-userland-dev-osmc libvncserver-dev libconfig++-dev

Now download & compile the dispmanx_vnc server itself (I did this as the user “osmc“).

unzip -d /home/osmc/
cd dispmanx_vnc-master

Time for a nice cup of tea… Once the compile is done, copy the default config and then, if you’re paranoidsensible, set a password therein.

cp dispmanx_vncserver.conf.sample dispmanx_vncserver.conf

On OSMC one doesn’t need evdev, but does need the uinput kernel module:

sudo modprobe uinput

To make that permanent, add “uinput” to /etc/modules. Then run the server:


You can now connect with your VNC client of choice (I use KRDC). Performance will not be astounding at around 7fps and you certainly won’t want to watch video over it, but it’s perfectly adequate for hacking on various settings without have to disturb whomever is watching the television!

Leave a Reply