VNC Fatal server error: could not open default font ‘fixed’

I needed to use some GUI tools recently for testing hard drives in a large RAID group on a CentOS Linux server that I only have remote access to so I decided to install VNC temporarily. The server has never had a GUI installed so I first installed the Gnome Desktop Environment, then installed VNC, configured VNC, and last attempted to start VNC but I received an error. The error was complaining of the default fonts not being in the proper location however the error output was excellent and allowed me to create a quick symlink to resolve the issue. Below I describe the error in more detail followed by the one command resolution.

Font Error Starting vncserver On CentOS Linux:

bash

  1. [root@dev ~]# /sbin/service vncserver start
  2. Starting TightVNC remote administration daemon (Xvnc):1:vncuser WARNING: initlog is deprecated and will be removed in a future release
  3. xauth:  creating new authority file /home/vncuser/.Xauthority
  4. Couldn't start Xvnc; trying default font path.
  5. Please set correct fontPath in the vncserver script.
  6. Couldn't start Xvnc process.
  7.  
  8. 30/06/12 11:05:41 Xvnc version TightVNC-1.3.9
  9. 30/06/12 11:05:41 Copyright (C) 2000-2007 TightVNC Group
  10. 30/06/12 11:05:41 Copyright (C) 1999 AT&T Laboratories Cambridge
  11. 30/06/12 11:05:41 All Rights Reserved.
  12. 30/06/12 11:05:41 See http://www.tightvnc.com/ for information on TightVNC
  13. 30/06/12 11:05:41 Desktop name 'X' (dev.example.com:1)
  14. 30/06/12 11:05:41 Protocol versions supported: 3.3, 3.7, 3.8, 3.7t, 3.8t
  15. 30/06/12 11:05:41 Listening for VNC connections on TCP port 5901
  16. 30/06/12 11:05:41 Listening for HTTP connections on TCP port 5801
  17. 30/06/12 11:05:41   URL http://dev.example.com:5801
  18. _FontTransSocketUNIXConnect: Can't connect: errno = 2
  19. failed to set default font path 'unix/:-1'
  20. Fatal server error:
  21. could not open default font 'fixed'
  22. 30/06/12 11:05:42 Xvnc version TightVNC-1.3.9
  23. 30/06/12 11:05:42 Copyright (C) 2000-2007 TightVNC Group
  24. 30/06/12 11:05:42 Copyright (C) 1999 AT&T Laboratories Cambridge
  25. 30/06/12 11:05:42 All Rights Reserved.
  26. 30/06/12 11:05:42 See http://www.tightvnc.com/ for information on TightVNC
  27. 30/06/12 11:05:42 Desktop name 'X' (dev.example.com:1)
  28. 30/06/12 11:05:42 Protocol versions supported: 3.3, 3.7, 3.8, 3.7t, 3.8t
  29. 30/06/12 11:05:42 Listening for VNC connections on TCP port 5901
  30. 30/06/12 11:05:42 Listening for HTTP connections on TCP port 5801
  31. 30/06/12 11:05:42   URL http://dev.example.com:5801
  32. Font directory '/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/misc/' not found - ignoring
  33. Font directory '/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/Speedo/' not found - ignoring
  34. Font directory '/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/Type1/' not found - ignoring
  35. Font directory '/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/75dpi/' not found - ignoring
  36. Font directory '/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/100dpi/' not found - ignoring
  37.  
  38. Fatal server error:
  39. could not open default font 'fixed'
  40.  
  41. [FAILED]
  42. [root@dev ~]#

As you can see the Fatal Server Error complains about not being able to open the default font “fixed”. To resolve this issue you will need to create a couple directories and then create a symlink as shown in the below example command line output.

Create Symlink For Fonts Directory On CentOS Linux:

To resolve the issue issue the below commands after which you will be able to launch vncserver as long as things are configured properly.

bash

  1. [root@dev X11]# mkdir /usr/X11R6/lib
  2. [root@dev X11]# mkdir /usr/X11R6/lib/X11
  3. [root@dev X11]# ln -s /usr/share/X11/fonts /usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts
  4. [root@dev X11]# ls -alh
  5. total 8.0K
  6. drwxr-xr-x 2 root root 4.0K Jun 30 11:12 .
  7. drwxr-xr-x 3 root root 4.0K Jun 30 11:11 ..
  8. lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root   20 Jun 30 11:12 fonts -> /usr/share/X11/fonts
  9. [root@dev X11]#

Now vncserver should start without issue as shown in the below example output.

Start vncserver On CentOS Linux After Creating Font Symlink:

bash

  1. [root@dev X11]# /sbin/service vncserver start
  2. Starting TightVNC remote administration daemon (Xvnc):1:vncuser WARNING: initlog is deprecated and will be removed in a future release
  3. [  OK  ]
  4. [root@dev X11]

Now make a connection to the server with your favorite VNC client which mine on OSX is JollysFastVNC.

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