A short guide on how to get coLinux up and running in a graphical UI (KDE). For a long and elaborate guide, see Getting Started with co Linux - Long manual. The long manual is especially written for people who are new to Linux.

The goal is to get an X-Server running in coLinux, and connect to it using VNC from Windows. What you need is (read: what I've used):


I'm assuming you've managed to set up coLinux to run using *colinux-daemon.exe*, if not go here

  • Hint:* if you don't see a cursor in the colinux console, create a shortcut pointing to colinux-daemon and change the commandline to this:
  C:\coLinux\colinux-daemon.exe -t nt

Make sure that you've started the command shell. This is how to do it: In the "Cooperative Linux console" you see the phrase: "colinux login:". Type:


Now you see the phrase "Password:". Type:


Now you are in the command shell. You see "colinux:/#". This is the prompt. Type:

cd /etc/network
nano interfaces

Now you're inside the Nano editor. The only nano commands you need right now are:

  • Ctrl-X = Exit
  • Ctrl-O = Save.

After you've pressed Ctrl-O, press [Enter]

The first thing to do is to get internet access.

The Debian dist uses the following network settings (/etc/network/interfaces):

iface eth0 inet static

For me, those will do. No need to change those if your default gateway matches and the default IP address doesn't cause any conflicts on you local network.

To get internet access we will need to set up the DNS first by editing */etc/resolv.conf*. You can find what DNS server your ISP uses by running *ipconfig /all* in a Windows command shell. It may be as simple as this line :


<BiafraRepublic> : If you're using the TAP-Win32 Interface for coLinux and Internet Connection Sharing, you can likely skip the above step altogether (particularly if you're using dialup). See Getting Started with coLinux - Long manual#Setting up networking

Test your internet connection by pinging You should get a reply.

Add the loopback device[]

Add this line to /etc/network/interfaces:

iface lo inet loopback

Add this line to /etc/hosts (if /etc/hosts file does not exist, create it) : colinux.colinuxdomain colinux

Setting up VNC server[]

First we need to get an updated package list, to get that run:

  apt-get update

To install VNC server we need to install a few packages:

  apt-get install xserver-xfree86
  apt-get install xfonts-base
  apt-get install kdebase
  apt-get install konsole
  apt-get install vncserver

This will install Xserver, necessary fonts, a basic KDE environment, konsole (X terminal emulator with support for several sessions) and vncserver.

[quartz - in my experience both from Debian Unstable and Ubuntu, installing xserver-xfree86 (or xserver-xorg) is unnecessary and will ALWAYS crash when setting the monitor up, so maybe steer aside that one?]

[apt-get install xserver-xfree86 doesnt work with 18mb debian complaints about dependencies]

If you receive an error about "APT::Force-LoopBreak" while trying to "apt-get install" you should run this to correct the broken dependencies:

  apt-get -f install

If the problem still persists, as a temporary solution, add this to /etc/apt/apt.conf: (There are no brackets in the apt.conf command)

  APT::Force-LoopBreak "true";

A better option is to type this, though you only need to do it for the first install, following packages install ok without this option.

  apt-get -o APT::Force-LoopBreak=true whateverprogramyouwanttoinstall

[USING APT-GET BEHIND PROXY: If you are behind a proxy, remember to use the commands first: export http_proxy=http://proxyIp:portNo AND export ftp_proxy =http://proxyIp:portNo ]

Running vnc server[]

Running vncserver from the commandline is done like this (use *man vncserver* in the command shell to find out more about what commands are available):

  vncserver -geometry 1000x768 -depth 16

The 1000x768 is a resolution which will scale nicely on a 1024x768 Windows desktop.

Normally, vncserver should prompt you for a password now. Once entered, it should start indicating a screen to use to connect to like this:

  New 'X' desktop is colinux:1

Use the VNC client on your Windows system to connect to coLinux by using this address :

As stated at the top of the page, you can find a VNC clients at Real VNC or

If you need a new password, use vncpasswd in coLinux. If all goes well, you'll be getting a neat looking KDE :)

However, if it doesn't, it might be needed to restart colinux, since the loopback device (which you just added) hasn't started yet.

<piyo> : You don't need to restart colinux, you just need to startup the loopback device. Just type "ifup lo".

To stop the VNC Server

  vncserver -kill :1

Running X clients inside a commone "desktop" Window[]


Running X clients as separate Windows[]

  • with Cygwin X server (with Windows clipboard integration):
XWin -ac -multiwindow -clipboard &
  • with a general X server such as X-Win32 :
configure it to use display
  • then from coLinux :
export DISPLAY=
  • then type either
xclock, xterm, konsole or any X application.
  • you can also use this syntax :
xclock -display &
xterm -display &

If you are using VNC with a SLIRP connection (0.6.3 Developer Snapshots and above)[]

VNC works perfectly well with a SLIRP connection, but it requires a bit of adjustment in the configuration, since you need to open the VNC server port or SLIRP won't allow the connection. First, you need to use a command-line configuration instead of the XML config file. Here's an example deb.bat file:

c:\colinux\colinux-daemon kernel=vmlinux cobd0=fs_4095Mb cobd1=swap_512Mb mem=256 eth0=slirp,"",tcp:5901:5901 root=/dev/cobd0

[I tried to use the xml config file instead and it works on my system(COLINUX 0.6.4): <network index="0" type="slirp" redir="tcp:5901:5901" />]

After "cobd0=", put the filename for your disk image file. After "cobd1=", put the filename of your swap image. To run a full KDE install successfully, you'll need to give coLinux 256MB of memory (mem=256). The 5901 is the port you'll be using for your VNC connection.

Start coLinux using this batch file. Now edit your /etc/network/interfaces file:

auto lo
iface lo inet loopback

auto eth0
iface eth0 inet dhcp

Either reset the eth0 connection (ifdown eth0, ifup eth0) or reboot coLinux.

Now, follow the above instructions to install KDE and vncserver.

To launch the VNC server, type:

vncserver -geometry 1000x650 -depth 16 :1

As a comment, 1000x650 is a good geometry on a 1024x768 monitor, modify it for your needs. Give the server an appropriate password when requested.

Now, start your favorite VNC client. For the address, type If all has gone well, you should start into KDE.

If the client fails to connect, check the log file of the VNC server (when you start the server, it'll tell you the location of the logs). If the server fails because it can't find a font file, apt-get install x-window-system-core.

Getting more[]

Since only a minimal KDE was installed earlier, you might be wanting a bit more goodies by installing the full pack. Do this by running:

apt-get install kde
  • WARNING* : After installing the full KDE, debian will automatically launch KDE as the default display manager at boot time, causing a complete machine freeze, so it's important before you re-boot coLinux to replace the contents of the /etc/X11/default-display-manager file by running this on the shell:
echo "null" > /etc/X11/default-display-manager

If it's too late and you now have an unbootable image, all is not lost. You can still access the broken image to make the change.

There is another simple way to access the image to solve the problem, simply boot single user. So add a "1" into the <bootparams> part of your config file, boot, change the display manager as above, remove the 1 and reboot.

i.e. change:



root=/dev/cobd0 1

and you'll boot single user to be able to solve the problem.


Here are a number of pages with some more detailed information about some of the topics addressed here:

MassTranslated on Sun Apr 23 17:35:44 UTC 2006

ManuallyAdjusted on 23 August 2008