VNC Server for Pinephone

April 1, 2021 (updated July 24, 2021) by Noah

I didn't find this documented very many places but it's possible to get a VNC server running for "remote desktop" to access and control your Pinephone display from your laptop.

Quick list of related technologies:

  • To take screenshots of your Pinephone, use the grim command.
  • To record videos of your Pinephone's screen, use wf-recorder.
  • To run a VNC Server, use wayvnc.

Mobian already packages grim and wf-recorder so these are just an apt install away, and these are documented on Mobian's wiki. But wayvnc is not yet packaged in Mobian and you gotta build it from source code yourself.

Follow the directions on the git repo, including cloning down the neatvnc and aml dependencies. The README has instructions to build it for Fedora and Arch but the Debian instructions are missing! I found by trial-and-error the dependencies I needed to install to build this program for Debian:

sudo apt install gcc meson ninja-build pkg-config libpixman-1-dev \
  libdrm-dev libxbcommon-dev libwayland-dev

I ran the built binary like wayvnc to start the server and connected with the TigerVNC client from my desktop.

It has a couple of quirks to watch out for:

  • The mouse cursor only appears on the Pinephone's screen, but not in the VNC viewer window, making some UIs hard to work with (the lock screen in particular). Edit: use -r --render-cursor options to get the cursor to work. Thanks, anonymous commenter!
  • The Pinephone display was "too tall" to fit on my screen when in portrait orientation. My desktop monitor is 1920x1080 but the Pinephone display is 720x1280 so it ran off the bottom of my screen by 200 pixels. Switching the display to Landscape fit better.




There are 3 comments on this page. Add yours.

Avatar image
Anonymous posted on July 14, 2021 @ 11:19 UTC

For libxbcommon-dev read libxkbcommon-dev

Avatar image
Anonymous posted on July 14, 2021 @ 16:39 UTC

Use -r --render-cursor to get the cursor on screen

Avatar image
Anonymous posted on March 3, 2023 @ 12:00 UTC

Heads-up: WayVNC is now available in the Mobian repos. You can use apt instead of compiling it yourself.

sudo apt install wayvnc

Add a Comment

Used for your Gravatar and optional thread subscription. Privacy policy.
You may format your message using GitHub Flavored Markdown syntax.