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:

[root@dev ~]# /sbin/service vncserver start
Starting TightVNC remote administration daemon (Xvnc):1:vncuser WARNING: initlog is deprecated and will be removed in a future release
xauth:  creating new authority file /home/vncuser/.Xauthority
Couldn't start Xvnc; trying default font path.
Please set correct fontPath in the vncserver script.
Couldn't start Xvnc process.

30/06/12 11:05:41 Xvnc version TightVNC-1.3.9
30/06/12 11:05:41 Copyright (C) 2000-2007 TightVNC Group
30/06/12 11:05:41 Copyright (C) 1999 AT&T Laboratories Cambridge
30/06/12 11:05:41 All Rights Reserved.
30/06/12 11:05:41 See http://www.tightvnc.com/ for information on TightVNC
30/06/12 11:05:41 Desktop name 'X' (dev.example.com:1)
30/06/12 11:05:41 Protocol versions supported: 3.3, 3.7, 3.8, 3.7t, 3.8t
30/06/12 11:05:41 Listening for VNC connections on TCP port 5901
30/06/12 11:05:41 Listening for HTTP connections on TCP port 5801
30/06/12 11:05:41   URL http://dev.example.com:5801
_FontTransSocketUNIXConnect: Can't connect: errno = 2
failed to set default font path 'unix/:-1'
Fatal server error:
could not open default font 'fixed'
30/06/12 11:05:42 Xvnc version TightVNC-1.3.9
30/06/12 11:05:42 Copyright (C) 2000-2007 TightVNC Group
30/06/12 11:05:42 Copyright (C) 1999 AT&T Laboratories Cambridge
30/06/12 11:05:42 All Rights Reserved.
30/06/12 11:05:42 See http://www.tightvnc.com/ for information on TightVNC
30/06/12 11:05:42 Desktop name 'X' (dev.example.com:1)
30/06/12 11:05:42 Protocol versions supported: 3.3, 3.7, 3.8, 3.7t, 3.8t
30/06/12 11:05:42 Listening for VNC connections on TCP port 5901
30/06/12 11:05:42 Listening for HTTP connections on TCP port 5801
30/06/12 11:05:42   URL http://dev.example.com:5801
Font directory '/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/misc/' not found - ignoring
Font directory '/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/Speedo/' not found - ignoring
Font directory '/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/Type1/' not found - ignoring
Font directory '/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/75dpi/' not found - ignoring
Font directory '/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/100dpi/' not found - ignoring

Fatal server error:
could not open default font 'fixed'

[FAILED]
[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.

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

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