Graphical desktop in Multipass

Graphical desktop can be viewed in various ways. We describe here the simplest one, RDP (Remote Display Protocol). Other methods include VNC, plain X11 forwarding (described here) and running a Mir shell through X11 forwarding (as described here).

The images used by Multipass do not come with a graphical desktop installed. For this reason, a desktop environment must be installed (we use ubuntu-desktop but there are as many other options as flavors of Ubuntu exist), along with the RDP server (we will use here xrdp but there are also other options such as freerdp). For this, we must log in to the running Multipass instance first, doing

multipass shell headbanging-squid

and, once inside the instance,

sudo apt update
sudo apt install ubuntu-desktop xrdp

Then, we need a user with a password in order to log in. One possibility is to set a password to the default ubuntu user.

sudo passwd ubuntu

We will be asked to enter and re-enter a password. And we are done on the server side.

For the client, we can use on Windows the “Remote Desktop Connection” application. There, we enter the virtual machine’s IP address (which can be found by issuing the command ip addr on the guest), set the session to XOrg and enter the username and password we created on the previuos step. And we are done… a graphical desktop!

To connect on MacOS, we can use the “Microsoft Remote Desktop” application, from the Mac App Store.

On Linux, there are applications such as Remmina to visualize the desktop (make sure the package remmina-plugin-rdp is installed in your host along with remmina, and that username and password are specified using the “New connection profile” button in the top left of the window).

Note: the setup described here was tested using Multipass 20.04 instances on Windows 10 Pro and on Ubuntu 20.04 hosts.


Last updated 1 year, 3 months ago.